The Borg wants to control…

The Borg wants to control your computer

From respected InfoWorld Windows columnist, Brian Livingston comes the unsettling news that new versions of Windows 2000 and XP can disable software on your system without asking.  It can snoop around on your system looking for, say, for audio files that don’t have the proper copyright, then disable the program you use to listen to them with. Without your knowledge or consent.

One thing you can’t get around, however — and a big reason for the latest fears — is Microsoft’s DRM (digital rights management) scheme. This built-in XP feature silently downloads and installs “revocation lists.” These lists prevent “revoked” programs from playing DRM-encoded content.

The idea of giving any outside company the ability to remotely turn off something that previously worked on your computer strikes many as lunacy.

Aside from fair-use issues, users fear silent upgrades because Microsoft has pumped out many buggy patches that themselves needed patching. Just this June, Microsoft shipped the Nimda worm in its Korean edition of Visual Studio.Net.