Property is Property

by on November 29, 2005 · 10 comments

The bad news about Sony spyware keeps pouring in. We’ve already seen how the XCP software uses deceptive techniques to hide its presence from the user. Now we learn that Sony’s other DRM scheme, MediaMax installs itself on your system even if you click “decline” on the EULA that pops up on your screen.

This is trespass, plain and simple. No software should ever install itself on a user’s computer without some notification to the user and opportunity to decline. That’s doubly true for drivers, because if they have bugs, they can render your whole system unstable and even introduce security vulnerabilities.

I’ve been a little shocked to see pro-DRM libertarians shrug their shoulders at the recent revelations about Sony’s behavior. (and no, Sony hasn’t been “bending over backwards” to fix the problems) We libertarians believe that property rights are fundamental rights that everyone has a duty to respect. Even big corporations. We don’t think that trespass is OK as long as it doesn’t do too much damage.

  • Walter E. Wallis

    I am billing Tribal $100/day for cpu rent. No payment yet, but I am considering a small claim action or, if I can find an attorney, a class action lawsuit against all companies using Tribal’ services.
    Any program that does not appear in the program directory and have a functional remove program should be considered illegal spyware and any company that uses spyware services should share criminal liability.

  • Walter E. Wallis

    I am billing Tribal $100/day for cpu rent. No payment yet, but I am considering a small claim action or, if I can find an attorney, a class action lawsuit against all companies using Tribal’ services.
    Any program that does not appear in the program directory and have a functional remove program should be considered illegal spyware and any company that uses spyware services should share criminal liability.

  • enigma_foundry

    Even big corporations.–No especially big corporations–This is where the free market comes in–if Gnu/Linux options are available, stuff like this is much less likely to occur–open source code and stuff like this gets pretty easy to spot–which is why these big corporations have so much to lose if they can’t stop GPL software–which is why those who really care about freeedom have to support it.

  • http://enigmafoundry.wordpress.com eee_eff

    Even big corporations.–No especially big corporations–This is where the free market comes in–if Gnu/Linux options are available, stuff like this is much less likely to occur–open source code and stuff like this gets pretty easy to spot–which is why these big corporations have so much to lose if they can’t stop GPL software–which is why those who really care about freeedom have to support it.

  • http://abstractfactory.blogspot.com/ Cog

    I also find the assessment that there’s not “too much damage” to be both shortsighted and premature.

    It’s shortsighted because opening an exploitable vulnerability on somebody’s machine (and this has infected at least half a million machines) is already quite significant damage, even if there are no burning buildings. At a minimum, network administrators will have to spend a great deal of expensive labor to clean up this mess.

    It’s premature in the sense that this root vulnerability’s not going to go away any time soon. The CDs will remain in circulation essentially forever, and (extrapolating from previous worm infections) there will be significant numbers of old unpatched and infected machines on the Internet for at least a decade. Any time a band of crackers wants to bootstrap a botnet, this will be one more pool of targets for them. The full damages from this rootkit are going to be felt by the Internet for years to come.

  • http://abstractfactory.blogspot.com/ Cog

    I also find the assessment that there’s not “too much damage” to be both shortsighted and premature.

    It’s shortsighted because opening an exploitable vulnerability on somebody’s machine (and this has infected at least half a million machines) is already quite significant damage, even if there are no burning buildings. At a minimum, network administrators will have to spend a great deal of expensive labor to clean up this mess.

    It’s premature in the sense that this root vulnerability’s not going to go away any time soon. The CDs will remain in circulation essentially forever, and (extrapolating from previous worm infections) there will be significant numbers of old unpatched and infected machines on the Internet for at least a decade. Any time a band of crackers wants to bootstrap a botnet, this will be one more pool of targets for them. The full damages from this rootkit are going to be felt by the Internet for years to come.

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