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07.20.13

Microsoft Collusion With the NSA Shows the Harms of Monopoly: No Perceived Threat in Hurting Users

Posted in Microsoft at 2:42 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

NSA

Summary: Why an arrogant company (invincible in its own mind) is more likely to conspire against its users/customers than most companies

MICROSOFT has more users than customers. They never choose to become customers and many never purchase anything from Microsoft, it’s merely the network effect which has them use Microsoft products. Microsoft, in turn, can treat them like garbage. The idea that they don’t pay makes it easier to justify selling them out, turning them into products or prey.

Mike Linksvayer asks a good question: “Why Doesn’t Skype Include Stronger Protections Against Eavesdropping?”

Well, Microsoft’s close (some would say incestuous) relationship with the NSA, which includes live Skype wiretapping and Windows back doors, can be explained and reasoned about as something which only a vain monopolist can get away with (domination in desktop operating systems and VoIP):

In short Skype has not protected users or informed them about lack of protection because they face near zero threat (regulatory or competitive product) which would interest them in doing so.

That is a good point. So it is time to break the monopoly. It is worth noting that one good thing which the Microsoft monopoly did is that it left a hole for the NSA leaks to become possible. A new report says:

The NSA has admitted that the organization’s use of Microsoft SharePoint allowed an unnamed sysadmin to leak information.

In what can be perceived as either a ringing endorsement of SharePoint’s “collaborative power”, or a depressing admission that, yes, spooks use the same infuriating software as we do, NSA chief General Keith Alexander indicated recent leaks came from a sysadmin being given SharePoint privileges.

Thanks, Microsoft, for making rubbish software that fails on security.

It is also worth remembering what Yahoo did before Microsoft took over most of the company. Unlike Microsoft which had colluded with the NSA, Yahoo fought the NSA. As FOSS Force put it:

I’m beginning to rethink Yahoo, just as I reappraised my feelings on the old Novel after they went to bat against SCO for the benefit of IBM and Linux.

On Monday, the Sunnyvale, California company pulled a honest-to-goodness rabbit out of the hat when they managed to persuade a FISA court to order the Obama administration to declassify as much as possible of a 2008 court decision justifying Prism before releasing it to the public.

Yahoo’s victory came one day before Microsoft went into damage control mode by denying allegations revealed by the publication last Thursday of documents leaked to the Guardian newspaper and website.

As reported on FOSS Force, the Guardian reported that Microsoft had helped the NSA “circumvent its encryption to address concerns that the agency would be unable to intercept web chats on the new Outlook.com portal.” In addition, “The agency already had pre-encryption stage access to email on Outlook.com, including Hotmail.” In other words, according to the Guardian it would appear that Microsoft was going well beyond mere legal obligations in their dealings with the NSA.

Don’t forget what Microsoft has in mind based on its patents:

Could the NSA use Microsoft’s Xbox One to spy on you?

Skype swore wiretaps weren’t possible before recent reports. Is Kinect next?

After the lies about Skype (gross and systematic), expect this latest spin to be nothing different. Microsoft intended and probably still intends to do Orwellian spying using Xbox One. Stallman asked me about it just a few days ago.

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