12.16.09

Gemini version available ♊︎

Microsoft Assumes You Too Are a Criminal

Posted in Google, Microsoft, Security, Windows at 12:09 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Technological progress is like an axe in the hands of a pathological criminal.”

Albert Einstein

Summary: Microsoft treats everyone like a criminal with its COFEE software; preventive measures are therefore created

BACK in November we wrote about Microsoft’s COFEE [1, 2], which makes use of diagnostic/forensic antifeatures that Microsoft put in Vista and in Vista 7, right under many people’s noses. After Vista in particular, Windows is a really user-hostile piece of software and after a lot of noise (especially against DRM) people seem to have forgotten about it, much to Microsoft’s delight. They even renamed “Vista”.

In essence, Microsoft has Windows spy on any user by logging his/her actions. What is wrong with all this? Well, it is not there for the user really, thus it’s an antifeature; it’s there to be used against the user.

The danger of COFEE was explained by Bruce Schneier last week (incidentally in response to Eric Schmidt).

Schmidt said:

I think judgment matters. If you have something that you don’t want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it in the first place. If you really need that kind of privacy, the reality is that search engines — including Google — do retain this information for some time and it’s important, for example, that we are all subject in the United States to the Patriot Act and it is possible that all that information could be made available to the authorities.

This, from 2006, is my response:

Privacy protects us from abuses by those in power, even if we’re doing nothing wrong at the time of surveillance.

We do nothing wrong when we make love or go to the bathroom. We are not deliberately hiding anything when we seek out private places for reflection or conversation. We keep private journals, sing in the privacy of the shower, and write letters to secret lovers and then burn them. Privacy is a basic human need.

[...]

For if we are observed in all matters, we are constantly under threat of correction, judgment, criticism, even plagiarism of our own uniqueness. We become children, fettered under watchful eyes, constantly fearful that — either now or in the uncertain future — patterns we leave behind will be brought back to implicate us, by whatever authority has now become focused upon our once-private and innocent acts. We lose our individuality, because everything we do is observable and recordable.

[...]

This is the loss of freedom we face when our privacy is taken from us. This is life in former East Germany, or life in Saddam Hussein’s Iraq. And it’s our future as we allow an ever-intrusive eye into our personal, private lives.

Too many wrongly characterize the debate as “security versus privacy.” The real choice is liberty versus control. Tyranny, whether it arises under threat of foreign physical attack or under constant domestic authoritative scrutiny, is still tyranny. Liberty requires security without intrusion, security plus privacy. Widespread police surveillance is the very definition of a police state. And that’s why we should champion privacy even when we have nothing to hide.

Abuse of power is a true danger to democracy, which is precisely what laws were establish to prevent (e.g. requirement of a search warrant). But Microsoft is turning in all users to authorities/policemen, who can also abuse their power to weaken democratic dissent (here in the UK even pro-environment activists are abused, harassed and sometimes arrested after eavesdropping, despite doing nothing wrong). Microsoft does not make “COFEE-readiness” selective based on prior activity like a criminal record or inclusion in a suspects list.

Software that’s called DECAF has just made its debut and the Microsoft folks write about it.

Two developers have created “Detect and Eliminate Computer Assisted Forensics” (DECAF). The tool tries to stop Microsoft’s Computer Online Forensic Evidence Extractor (COFEE), which helps law enforcement officials grab data from password protected or encrypted sources.

[...]

More specifically, the program deletes COFEE’s temporary files, kills its processes, erases all COFEE logs, disables USB drives, and even contaminates or spoofs a variety of MAC addresses to muddy forensic tracks. It can be told to disable almost every piece of hardware on a machine and delete pre-defined files in the background. The 181KB DECAF program even has a ‘Spill the cofee’ mode in which it simulates COFEE’s presence to give the user an opportunity to test his or her configuration before actually using it. Source code for DECAF has not been made available, since the authors fear it will be reverse engineered, making it unclear what else the tool might be doing and whether or not it is completely safe to use.

This seems like a tool that any activist who is still not using Free software should make use of.

Is it not hysterical that Microsoft pretends that it cares about privacy? Microsoft remains a great threat to democracy. Unlike Google, Microsoft does not ask if you are willing to be spied on and there is no option to opt out, either. This spyware/malware is already preinstalled on most new computers. It’s ‘baked into’ Windows.

Share in other sites/networks: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Reddit
  • email

Decor ᶃ Gemini Space

Below is a Web proxy. We recommend getting a Gemini client/browser.

Black/white/grey bullet button This post is also available in Gemini over at this address (requires a Gemini client/browser to open).

Decor ✐ Cross-references

Black/white/grey bullet button Pages that cross-reference this one, if any exist, are listed below or will be listed below over time.

Decor ▢ Respond and Discuss

Black/white/grey bullet button If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

3 Comments

  1. dyfet said,

    December 16, 2009 at 12:36 pm

    Gravatar

    Privacy is ultimately about liberty and security is always about control. Therefore human freedom and any form of mass surveillance, where you exchange privacy for the illusion of security and the efficiency of the state, can never co-exist. The question of reducing humans to children further brings to mind very basic questions of human dignity.

    The very idea of proprietary software and this false thing so called “IP”, or more properly, Intellectual Restrictions, is that you can somehow give something to someone and yet also control what they do with it or even what they are permitted to think. This mindset makes it very natural I imagine to also to try and track what other people think and do, which converges well with the needs and philosophy of fascist states and societies. It is socially destructive in the most extreme, and one of the reasons I think the mindset of proprietary software is fundamentally an anti-social one.

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    Some new campaign ought to raise awareness of Windows’ impact on privacy.

  2. Yuhong Bao said,

    December 16, 2009 at 9:34 pm

    Gravatar

    “They even renamed “Vista”.”
    Not exactly, but I discussed that one before, and it reminds me of Server 2008 R2, which Ars just reviewed positively.
    “which makes use of diagnostic/forensic antifeatures that Microsoft put in Vista and in Vista 7,”
    Really? Did MS really put features in Vista/7 specifically for this?

DecorWhat Else is New


  1. Links 19/10/2021: MyGNUHealth 1.0.5 and Ubuntu 22.04 Now Developed

    Links for the day



  2. [Meme] [Teaser] Thrown Under the Bus

    Tomorrow we shall look at Danish enablers of unlawful EPO regulations, Jesper Kongstad and Anne Rejnhold Jørgensen



  3. The World Needs to Know What Many Austrians Already Know About Rude Liar, the Notorious 'Double-Dipper'

    Today we publish many translations (from German) about the Austrian double-dipper, who already became the subject of unfavourable press coverage in his home country; he’s partly responsible for crushing fundamental rights at the EPO under Benoît Battistelli‘s regime



  4. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XVI: The Demise of the Austrian Double-Dipper

    Friedrich ‘Rude Liar’ Rödler is notorious in the eyes of EPO staff, whom he was slandering and scandalising for ages while he himself was the real scandal



  5. Links 18/10/2021: Porteus Kiosk 5.3 and Ventoy 1.0.55

    Links for the day



  6. [Meme] [Teaser] More to Life Than Patents

    Greedy sociopaths oughtn’t be put in charge of patent offices; this is what’s dooming the EPO in recent years (all they think about is money



  7. Microsoft GitHub Exposé — Part II — The Campaign Against GPL Compliance and War on Copyleft Enforcement

    Microsoft contemplated buying GitHub 7.5 years ago; the goal wasn’t to actually support “Open Source” but to crush it from the inside and that’s what Microsoft has been doing over the past 2.5 years (we have some details from the inside)



  8. Links 18/10/2021: Linux 5.15 RC6 and 7 New Stable Kernels

    Links for the day



  9. [Meme] The Austrian School of Friedrich Rude Liar

    With reference to the Austrian School, let’s consider the fact that Friedrich Rude Liar might in fact be standing to personally gain by plundering the EPO‘s staff by demonising them while helping Benoît Battistelli crush them



  10. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, October 17, 2021

    IRC logs for Sunday, October 17, 2021



  11. How (Simple Technical Steps) to Convince Yourself That DuckDuckGo is Just Spyware Connected to Microsoft, Falsely Advertised as 'Privacy'

    In recent days we published or republished some bits and pieces about what DuckDuckGo really is; the above reader dropped by to enlighten us and demonstrate just how easy it is to see what DuckDuckGo does even at the client side (with JavaScript); more people need to confront DuckDuckGo over this and warn colleagues/friends/family (there’s more here)



  12. Austria's Right-Wing Politicians Displaying Their Arrogance to EPO Examiners

    The EPO‘s current regime seems to be serving a money-hungry lobby of corrupt officials and pathological liars; tonight we focus on Austria



  13. [Meme] Friedrich Rödler's Increasingly Incomprehensible Debt Quagmire, Years Before EPO Money Was Trafficked Into the Stock Market

    As it turns out, numerous members of the Administrative Council of the EPO are abundantly corrupt and greedy; They falsely claim or selfishly pretend there’s a financial crisis and then moan about a "gap" that does not exist (unless one counts the illegal gambling, notably EPOTIF, which they approved), in turn recruiting or resorting to scabs that help improve ‘profit margins’



  14. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XV: Et Tu Felix Austria…

    Prior to the Benoît Battistelli and António Campinos regime the EPO‘s hard-working staff was slandered by a corrupt Austrian official, Mr. Rödler



  15. Links 17/10/2021: Blender 2.93.5, Microsoft Bailouts

    Links for the day



  16. Links 17/10/2021: GhostBSD 21.10.16 and Mattermost 6.0

    Links for the day



  17. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, October 16, 2021

    IRC logs for Saturday, October 16, 2021



  18. [Meme] First Illegally Banning Strikes, Then Illegally Taking Over Courts

    The vision of Team Battistelli/Campinos is a hostile takeover of the entire patent system, not just patent offices like the EPO; they’d stop at nothing to get there



  19. Portuguese Network of Enablers

    Instead of serving Portuguese people or serving thousands of EPO workers (including many who are Portuguese) the delegation from Portugal served the network of Campinos



  20. In Picture: After Billions Spent on Marketing, With Vista 11 Hype and Vapourware, No Real Gains for Windows

    The very latest figures from Web usage show that it’s hardly even a blip on the radar; Windows continues bleeding to death, not only in servers



  21. [Meme] [Teaser] Double-Dipping Friedrich Rödler

    As we shall see tomorrow night, the EPO regime was supported by a fair share of corrupt officials inside the Administrative Council



  22. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XIV: Battistelli's Iberian Facilitators - Portugal

    How illegal “Strike Regulations” and regressive ‘reforms’ at the EPO, empowering Benoît Battistelli to the detriment of the Rule of Law, were ushered in by António Campinos and by Portugal 5 years before Campinos took Battistelli’s seat (and power he had given himself)



  23. Links 16/10/2021: SparkyLinux Turns 10 and Sculpt OS 21.10

    Links for the day



  24. “Facebook Whistleblowers” Aside, It Has Been a Dying Platform for Years, and It's Mentally Perverting the Older Generation

    Guest post by Ryan, reprinted with permission



  25. [Meme] Microsoft Has Always Been About Control Over Others

    Hosting by Microsoft means subjugation or a slavery-like relationship; contrary to the current media narrative, Microsoft has long been censoring LinkedIn for China’s autocratic regime; and over at GitHub, as we shall show for months to come, there’s a war on information, a war on women, and gross violations of the law



  26. EFF Pushes for Users to Install DuckDuckGo Software After Being Paid to Kill HTTPS Everywhere

    Guest post by Ryan, reprinted with permission



  27. The Reign in Spain

    Discussion about the role of Spain in the EPO‘s autocratic regime which violates the rights of EPO staff, including Spanish workers



  28. [Meme] Spanish Inquisition

    Let it be widely known that Spain played a role in crushing the basic rights of all EPO workers, including hundreds of Spaniards



  29. Why You Shouldn’t Use SteamOS, a Really Incompetent GNU/Linux Distribution With Security Pitfalls (Lutris is a Great Alternative)

    Guest post by Ryan, reprinted with permission



  30. IRC Proceedings: Friday, October 15, 2021

    IRC logs for Friday, October 15, 2021


RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

Recent Posts