08.13.15

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Privacy Controls in Vista 10 Are Decorative, Not Intended to Help Guard Privacy

Posted in Microsoft, Vista 10, Windows at 7:00 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: More people realise that even with configuration to fit one’s preferences, Vista 10 remains an Orwellian piece of spyware

VERY counter-intuitively, Vista 10 should be scary to its users, but not to GNU/Linux users. Vista 10 poses plenty of dangers to people who are using it (i.e. used by it) and it is not gaining market share because a lot of people quickly realise that adopting Vista 10 means becoming a product for Microsoft to sell. Microsoft always brags about ‘sales’/number of useds [sic], but not this time. Vista 10 is demonstrably a huge failure, despite the low initial advertised cost (gratis ‘upgrade’).

Last week we reminded readers that settings in proprietary software from Microsoft are often decorative, meaning that they serve no function other than give users the illusion of control. With proprietary software, especially from Microsoft, the software controls the user. Microsoft has been ignoring user settings (regarding privacy and other critical things such as automatic updates) for at least 14 years. This isn’t a shocking new development as it has been done since Windows XP, if not beforehand as well.

British media made it top news today that Vista 10 “contacts OneDrive, MSN and other services even if a user has activated privacy-protecting options” (i.e. Microsoft ignores these).

“Microsoft has been ignoring user settings (regarding privacy and other critical things such as automatic updates) for at least 14 years.”Almost all the articles are linking to Microsoft Peter (a British Microsoft booster), but some, such as Phil Muncaster, frame Microsoft’s attack on privacy based on the company’s own words. “The offending clause was spotted by eagle-eyed journalists who waded through the new 12,000 word terms of use,” Muncaster wrote and other British journalists, along with US counterparts, focused on Microsoft Peter (some have explained why forced automatic updates that cannot be disabled are a “Dangerous New Direction”).

“Microsoft’s claims that it makes great software are open to dispute,” said this article the other day and The New American, a reasonably high profile site, went with the headline “Windows 10 Is Spyware”. There is a trend here. Vista 10 is quickly becoming synonymous with spyware and there is finally a Wikipedia page titled “Microsoft Spyware”. It’s actually a Wikipedia article on Microsoft Spyware, providing some preliminary examples.

iophk reminded us this morning that “Slashdot used to tag articles ‘vista failure’ for a few weeks.” Having just checked Techrights traffic again, for the past 4 days (since Sunday), Vista 10 market share is up to just 1.1%. Still pathetic given that the ‘upgrade’ is advertised as gratis.

FOSS Force published this article this morning, reminding us that Vista 10 AstroTurfing, like a lot of Microsoft AstroTurfing in general, relies on trying to “create stories that find the positive within the negative” because “a story that simply states that “Windows 10 is great!” might not make the cut as a news story, even with the always lowering standards on what passes as news sites these days.”

“The job for the Mad ad men,” explains Christine, “is to create stories that find the positive within the negative — which they’re doing with great abundance, mainly because Windows never fails to offer a surfeit of negative.” It’s drowning the signal with noise, turning negatives into positives. It’s a classic PR strategy which we wrote about in past years.

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