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WGA lawsuit fails Class Action bid

WGA lawsuit fails Class Action bid

The news that the anti-WGA lawsuit brought against Microsoft will not be granted Class Action status will be a relief to shareholders.

Microsoft has managed to doge a legal bullet with the news that a lawsuit against it regarding its Windows Genuine Advantage software has been refused Class Action status.

As reported over on Ars Technica, the suit - which will still go ahead, but as a plain lawsuit rather than a Class Action suit - began three years ago when privacy advocates discovered the then-beta Windows Genuine Advantage software, designed to detect pirated installations of Windows XP, communicated with Microsoft's servers on a daily basis.

Despite the company moving to a once-every-ninety-days callback cycle once WGA had left beta, the privacy concerns never died down - and only increased when Microsoft foisted the WGA software on its users by issuing it as a High Priority update via Windows Update and Microsoft Update.

The suit, filed in June 2006, asks for "actual damages or one hundred thousand dollars per violation, whichever is greater," for the company to be banned from shipping WGA, and for a full disclosure of WGA's "potential security and other risks," along with the production of a tool to fully remove a WGA installation - which the suit brands "spyware" - from a Windows system.

Had the suit been granted Class Action status, as it originally sought, the damages Microsoft could have faced had it lost would have been immense: anyone who owned a Windows XP-based PC in 2006 would have potentially been a class member and owed damages by the company. The refusal by the court to grant the Class Action status will come as a relief to the company, but it still needs to defend itself against the claims made in the suit - and defend its use of Windows Genuine Advantage, now known as Windows Activation Technologies.

Do you think Microsoft should be forced to stop using the WGA 'spyware,' or does the company have a right to use technological measures to attempt to prevent piracy of its software? Share your thoughts over in the forums.

10 Comments

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l3v1ck 22nd January 2010, 10:21 Quote
As long a WGA is only reporting back whether Microsoft software is legitimate or not, there's no possible case to answer.
If it started reporting what other software etc you were using then there would be an issue.
mi1ez 22nd January 2010, 10:52 Quote
Doge a lawsuit you say?
mi1ez 22nd January 2010, 10:53 Quote
To be fair, it was a bloody ridiculous suit in the first place!
B1GBUD 22nd January 2010, 11:49 Quote
If you've got nothing dodgy on your PC then you should have nothing to hide. Most software "phones home" for licensing requirements. I don't have a problem with it myself, but then I use my PC for legitimate reasons.
Eriku-Kun 22nd January 2010, 13:43 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by B1GBUD
If you've got nothing dodgy on your PC then you should have nothing to hide. Most software "phones home" for licensing requirements. I don't have a problem with it myself, but then I use my PC for legitimate reasons.

Oh please, dont come draging the "if your not doing anything bad you shouldnt mind them monitoring your" argument into this. That is wrong on oh so many levels i wont pollute this thread with the rant describing it in full.
RichCreedy 22nd January 2010, 15:47 Quote
for more information about wga click Here

it is mearly an anti piracy tool. why should you be concerned about it if your license is genuine? even if it flags your genuine copy as counterfit, a quick phone call will soon sort it out
Cupboard 22nd January 2010, 16:42 Quote
I have been moderately annoyed by WGA in the past, though I can completely understand why they want to make sure you are using legal versions of the software.

It actually annoyed me enough on my (legal) version of Vista (locked me out, couldn't activate etc) that I decided to "fix" it with a pirated version. It stopped causing problems after that :D
alpha0ne23 23rd January 2010, 07:36 Quote
I have found over many years that these 'anti-piracy' measures actually encourage ppl to re roll windows installs/use pirated versions when using XP
M7ck 23rd January 2010, 10:14 Quote
I think the only ones that have a genuine problem with WGA are the pirates. If you have a genuine copy of windows then there is no problem. If it does go tits up and refuses to activate a genuine copy then a quick phone call sorts that.
nitrous9200 24th January 2010, 02:40 Quote
I agree completely with some of the posters above. I perform OS reinstalls all the time as part of my job, and never once have I been denied the ability to activate Windows because of it. I can almost always perform the online activation which takes no time at all, and occasionally I need to make a three minute phone call to get the code. Even if I have to go one step further and talk to a person (gasp!) you can easily say that you have only installed Windows on one PC and you just needed to reinstall or upgraded your hardware: in that case, they'll give you the code anyway since they can't prove you wrong. Basically, the system is defeated by the human element of the process. Then, what else is there for it to send back to microsoft besides the activation status? It's just like the google argument to me - everyone claims their privacy is being invaded, but I think that google really couldn't care less about me personally, all they want is my browsing history so they can show me some ads. Big deal. Some people are just paranoid.
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