Windows 7 Will Let Microsoft Track Your Every Move - Webmonkey

Discussion in 'Backup and Security' started by taodr, Oct 7, 2009.

  1. taodr


    By Scott Gilbertson November 7, 2008 Categories: Operating Systems, Software & Tools
    From FireEagle to iPhone apps that use your current location, everyone it seems is racing to get on the geo-aware software bandwagon. So far most geo-aware features have been opt-in and offer reasonable privacy controls (FireEagle is a good example of this), but Microsoft’s upcoming Windows 7 plans to offer developers location tools at the operating system level and the company doesn’t seem to think users care about control or privacy.

    Before you freak out at the thought that Redmond will soon be tracking your every move, keep in mind that the new features will be disabled by default. That’s the good news.

    The bad news is that if you turn the geo features on, there are very few controls available and, yes, Microsoft could easily track your every move. Now you can freak out.

    According to CNet, which saw a demo of the new geo features, once the service is turned on, there are only two means of limiting the geo-tracking — you can either limit to a specific user, or you can limit it to just traditional applications (rather than services running in the background).

    But here’s the essential problem: If you enable the geo-tracking for say, a restaurant searching app in your gadgets collection, there’s no way to stop other apps from accessing your location as well. It’s an all or nothing feature.

    While geo-aware locations are certain a hot item in the software world right now, they’re also at the heart of many ongoing privacy debates. Unfortunately Microsoft’s new feature is exactly the sort of thing that turns people’s mild suspicions into full, raging paranoia.

    Here’s Microsoft’s explanation for why the geo-tracking will not offer much control. It’s also the paranoid’s greatest fear in a nutshell:

    The reason, Microsoft officials say, is that Windows doesn’t have a reliable means of determining that an application is what it says it is, so any attempt to limit the location to a specific application would be easily spoofable.

    So the short story is Windows 7 has geo-tracking features, but aside from turning them on and off, you have basically no control.

    That strikes us as a recipe for disaster and something that will eventually blow up in Microsoft’s face (whether justified or not) because geo-tracking is a very sensitive issue and this implementation seems entirely ham-fisted and ill-conceived. Of course it’s a little better than past attempts by the company, which don’t even offer an on/off switch.

    But why, for the love of all thing sane, would Microsoft not at least offer to notify you when an app is trying access geo-information? Indeed, that would be a good start. Then add the ability to deny the application access and you’re getting to the useful stage. Unfortunately, Microsoft reps tell CNet that such controls are “not currently on Microsoft’s roadmap for Windows 7.”

    CNet’s report comes from the Windows Hardware Engineering Conference happening this week in Los Angeles and cites several reps from hardware vendors who don’t seem to think users care about privacy controls — because it’s too complicated. There may be some truth to that, but we suspect, as geo-tracking features become more widespread and people start to realize what they are capable of, people are going to care.

    The only real saving grace is that Window 7 remains in the active development stage and there’s no telling what the finished product will really look like. But that said, we think the geo-tracking capabilities are off to rocky start. No doubt the company would love to be able to offer advertisers location-specific ads that target niche areas, but will users stand for it?
  2. Aside from being a moron, why would you even bother turning this feature on?
  3. pspr


    Sounds like give them another version or two and you won't be able to opt out of tracking. It must be time to change operating systems or go Mac.
  4. the1


    Sounds like MSFT is partnering up with Big Brother.
  5. They ALREADY DID under the Clinton administration during the Justice Dept attempt to break up MS into pieces........notice that plan was suddenly dropped. :eek:

    Billy boy SOLD OUT to THEIR ultimate plans........THEY won again in THEIR agenda to have command and control of society as technology moves forward.

    Billy boy....the Globalist Wealth Entities thank you for your capitulation to THEIR incremental agenda!
  6. maxpi


    I really believe that is what they did back in the day of the investigation of their monopoly.. something changed really quickly, Microsoft went on trial and they were the "really bad guys" then after awhile everything was peachy keen and they were allowed to pretty muchly just keep on doing what they always did... either that or they "spread the wealth around" like Obama was talking about with Joe the Plumber...
  7. maxpi


    So I guess we have another minefield to sidestep our way through.. put win7 on your home computer that is not gps active.. use something else on all mobile devices so that you can find local pizzerias or whatever while you are road tripping...

    I have never owned anything with a gps in it, not a cellphone or anything.. I could be tracked by credit card use easily.. and I could easily go to all cash as well... but currently nobody is tracking me that I can think of, if they are they are going to get really, really, bored...
  8. kinar


    why exactly do any of you care if Microsoft (or anyone else for that matter) are tracking you?

    Seriously think about it...why?

    I'm sure at least one of you will come back with "It's my right to privacy"...that excuse simply doesn't fly for me.

    Are you doing something illegal?

    Are you so ashamed of your day to day activity that you don't want anyone to know about it?

    Of course you will all probably answer these questions with "No but its the principle..."

    Well that principle goes both ways...

    So seriously....why?
  9. GiantDog


    So if the GUVment wants to put a webcam in your bathroom so they can watch you take a crap you won't care about that either?
  10. I'm pretty sure this is true. It's hard finding information about it though. But I've heard the same thing multiple times. The Gov. made a deal with Microsoft to obtain information from its users, and would in return give Microsoft a slap on the wrist.
    #10     Oct 7, 2009