1/22/2006

Microsoft’s Data Collection Troubles Some Users

Filed under: — By Aviran Mordo @ 10:45 am

Microsoft routinely and remotely monitors the security health of PCs running its OneCare Live security service by collecting a wide range of information from users’ computers, including a machine-specific identifier.

It’s a policy the software giant does not attempt to hide, but it is a practice that is nonetheless unsettling to some users. It’s also a more extensive data collection system than that practiced by Microsoft’s rival in the managed security space.

According to an entry posted this week to the OneCare team’s blog, the service has “noticed a slight increase in the number of people turning off their firewall, with a corresponding decrease in the number of green machines.” (OneCare, a collection of anti-virus, firewall, tune-up, and backup tools, displays the overall security status as with ‘green’ for good or ‘red’ for bad.)

“Through a combination of surveys, emails and customer communication, we maintain a close watch on the ‘health’ status indicators, such as, percent of users with anti-virus out of date, or the ratio of customers that are regularly backing up files,” wrote the unnamed blogger.

“If you subscribe to the Windows OneCare service and install the Windows OneCare software, certain information about your machine and use of the service will automatically be transmitted to Microsoft in order to permit us to provide the service and help keep your machine operating in a trouble-free manner,” states the privacy policy.

Microsoft collects such things as the frequency of backups, changes to the firewall, viruses encountered, and the overall ‘health’ of the system, as well as a computer-specific identifier that’s generated by OneCare.

Source: informationweek

 

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