Summary: The latest version of Windows is on the verge of criminal activity (but with a newly-written EULA permitting this), as more prominent writers finally care to mention
JUDGING by some recent news, Vista 10 is not doing so well (not to our surprise). Microsoft is hardly even sharing any figures. The British media warns about privacy violations that pretty much render the user a “product” and the new customer of Microsoft advertisers. “Here’s a quick FYI,” wrote The Register, “if you installed Windows 10, and in a rush to try out Microsoft’s new operating system, you clicked through the default settings without looking, you may want to look again.
“If you value your privacy, or have a distrust of Microsoft, you probably want to make sure some or all of the settings are flipped to off. These include things like sending “typing and inking” data to Microsoft’s servers, and letting apps identify you by your unique advertising ID number.
“Your physical whereabouts and your web browser history, plus your contacts and calendar records, are also phoned home to Redmond. Your PC will even let other computers download updates from it, and potentially share your Wi-Fi network with strangers.”
People who think that altering privacy settings in Vista 10 will truly help are fooling themselves. Windows has a long history of not obeying user preferences/configurations. In Windows XP, for example, there was a setting for disabling automatic updates. But Microsoft deliberately ignored it. This setting was decorative at best.
Vista 10 is a monstrous surveillance machine worse by far than Facebook because it has access to webcams, microphones, and every single file. Vista 10 is not an operating systems but a monstrous surveillance and data-sucking machine which happens to have a kernel and GUI. People who worry about installing Vista 10 because it’s a data hoover must also avoid Skype (all platforms) because it sucks up (to Microsoft’s servers) a lot of data. Every time you install Skype or some other Microsoft malware on any device (even Android-powered) you let Microsoft (and NSA, via PRISM) suck a lot of private data upwards, to the so-called ‘cloud’. Every time you install an app on Android be sure to view permissions first, then assume all the data (or devices like a microphone) can and will suck in data, eventually uploading it all. This data has value as it can be sold. If you use Skype or Windows, then you are the product. The client is, among others, the NSA.
An article by Glyn Moody strives to remind people that Vista 10 is not free. To quote the conclusion: “Any one of these would be enough to raise serious privacy concerns, even if some can be turned off; put together, they look as if an executive order has gone out to harvest the maximum amount of personal information, and to disregard privacy issues completely. Back in 1999, when Sun’s CEO Scott McNealy famously declared “You have zero privacy anyway, get over it,” he could be forgiven for living in an innocent era when the harm that might flow from that situation seemed circumscribed. Today, in the post-Snowden world, putting “zero privacy” at the heart of your latest product in the way that Microsoft seems to have done with Windows 10, is not just foolish and anachronistic, but downright contemptuous of users and their safety.”
Moody says that Vista 10 is ‘free’ like a “free puppy” — an analogy recently (mis)used by a Microsoft propagandist (Branscombe) against Free software.
Vista 10, to make matters worse than just these privacy violations, turns your hardware into part of a botnet commandeered by Microsoft. It basically lets Microsoft take over your machine and then use it. “If you’ve upgraded to Windows 10,” explained one writer, “then Microsoft could be using your PC – and your internet connection – to silently send Windows updates to others.”
“Richard Stallman was right to call Windows “malware”. It it wasn’t malware before, it sure is now.”Vista 10 is not the only software which Microsoft turned in to part of a botnet. Skype has been doing it for years (after Microsoft had taken over).
Ryan Farmer, in our IRC channels, says that “Windows went from bordering on malware to actual malware. It hijacks your internet connection that you are paying for and makes you foot Microsoft’s bandwidth bills.” Ryan warned about this a week ago, but it’s only now that the media has caught up.
Meanwhile, as revealed by this horrible story, Vista 10 is a privacy violation not only across the network but also within one’s home. To quote the gist of it: “Following the successful release of Windows 10 last week, one man who decided to partake in the free upgrade got a little bit more than he bargained for.
“Posting on Reddit, a man detailed how he began the Windows 10 installation process at night before going to bed. Come the next morning, his wife woke him up asking why their computer’s screensaver was cycling through the man’s ostensibly private porn photo collection which, he later explained, included quite a few celebrity nudes.”
Vista 10 has taken surveillance to a whole new level and to make matter worse, it gives Microsoft full control over people’s computers, which are basically rendered zombies now. Richard Stallman was right to call Windows “malware”. It it wasn’t malware before, it sure is now. █