Bonum Certa Men Certa

Microsoft Wants a Monopoly on People's Data, Not Just Their Software

Microsoft in health

Summary: Microsoft's very latest moves whose goal is to vacuum people's personal information/profiles/medical records

According to this new press release, which is already covered in some news sites (e.g. [1, 2]), Microsoft is spreading SharePoint lock-in through schools, with the help of ePals. Another new press release shows that Microsoft does the same thing with Open Text.

Later on we are going to address Bill Gates' influence on schools and what role it plays in ensuring that schools become indoctrination facilities for Microsoft (as far as computer education is concerned, not education as a whole). With its new partnerships, Microsoft is not only pushing "Live@edu" into schools (to manage the lives of their students from Microsoft servers); Groklaw was concerned enough about it to cite a roundup from a Microsoft-oriented site covering the financial results [1, 2, 3] and also the aforementioned deal with ePals. It says:

Microsoft is teaming with education-technology company ePals Inc. to expand the presence of the Redmond company's email, calendar and other technologies in schools. Under the agreement, announced this morning, ePals says it will expand its service by offering Microsoft's Exchange-based "Live@edu" system to millions of its users, which includes teachers, students and parents in 200 countries and territories. Among other plans, the companies say they'll also work together to roll out Microsoft's upcoming Office Web Apps in schools.

This is an abomination for reasons we explained before. Students are not only being brainwashed for Microsoft; their whole life is also being put on Microsoft's turf and managed by Microsoft. This privatisation of education is a serious matter we will properly address later today or tomorrow. Here is another bit of ZDNet coverage about the ePals deal:

ePals, a leader in connecting students, classrooms, and educational activities worldwide with safe, secure email and Web 2.0 platforms, announced today that it has signed a “strategic technical collaboration agreement” with Microsoft. ePals will integrate Microsoft’s Live@Edu offerings with their extensive network for millions of users worldwide while the two companies will continue to expand their integration in the future with Office Web Apps and features of Sharepoint Online.

Embrace and extend, anyone?

This scheme is also being advertised by Microsoft's friends at O'Reilly, who call this "smarter school infrastructure". Surely they jest, right?

Our reader Omar brought us some thoughts from Jordan and examples about Microsoft's Live@edu scheme, which is also trying to take over his country's universities and administration. Microsoft forms other new deals in the Middle East/Gulf [1, 2, 3] as it is trying to take over the Arabic world with its proprietary software.

The further integration of Arabic language capabilities in internet and other technological architecture will grant millions access to the digital world, Microsoft and Google executives said.

Neither Google nor Microsoft belong there because they vend proprietary software. There are perfectly fine building blocks that are Free software and any country ought to build its infrastructure with them (the private sector can do as it wishes, but not governments elected by their people). Going further east all the way to Taiwan, Microsoft's center for 'clouds' (established with actual help from the same government that found Microsoft guilty of antitrust abuses) makes a leap as the government helps the monopolist take over the infrastructure, first with just "research" [1, 2, 3, 4] and later with a political agenda of invading people's data (including sensitive government information like medical records), not just their computer software. This is accompanied by what seems like an advertisement in Asia and more help from Microsoft booster Todd Bishop, who apparently sees nothing wrong without Microsoft's greed for people's medical records amid intense lobbying. What next? Microsoft to collect DNA samples from all people, 'on behalf' of governments? It's already close to that in India.

“First, Microsoft broke the law to build a monopoly on tools that people manage their data with.”Microsoft says that users will "win" if they let Microsoft manage their data and it also says something along the lines of "trust us", which is the classic type of sentence people say when they cannot and shouldn't be trusted. Microsoft has spurred a big wave of more articles with 'cloud' hype and why governments and businesses ought to embrace 'clouds', as long as "evil" Google is not controlling them.

First, Microsoft broke the law to build a monopoly on tools that people manage their data with. And now, several years later, Microsoft wants people's data too.

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

--Bruce Schneier

"Microsoft should put its own house in order on privacy rather than waving about a discredited blueprint as a model for others... This attempt to portray itself as a leader in consumer privacy is as preposterous as the notion that it has treated its competitors with high standards of business ethics."

--Junkbusters President Jason Catlett

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