bit-tech.net

Microsoft patents seriously bad adware

Microsoft patents seriously bad adware

If only real adware was this obvious.

Arstechnica and Informationweek are reporting about an adware patent Microsoft has just filed that could make your future Windows browsing experience a whole lot worse. Apparently Microsoft is planning an "advertising framework" that will use "context data" from your computer in order to show you adverts and "apportion and credit advertising revenue" to advertising suppliers in real time.

So, not only does it intend to use your computer resources and Internet connection to drive its advertising, but it'll also sniff your hard drive for and ship it out to someone else who bought "the right" to see it. All your bits are belong to Microsoft and its country club buddies? Possibly so in the near future.

It could possibly exist as part of the users computer, "whether it's part of the OS, an application or integrated within applications." This means it might not just come in a future version of Windows, it could come in Office, Flight Sim, Solitaire or anything else for that matter. Perhaps your Xbox 360 and Windows Mobile phone as well?

The article states, "Applications, tools, or utilities may use an application program interface to report context data tags such as key words or other information that may be used to target advertisements," says the filing. "The advertising framework may host several components for receiving and processing the context data, refining the data, requesting advertisements from an advertising supplier, for receiving and forwarding advertisements to a display client for presentation, and for providing data back to the advertising supplier."

So, now we have key logging thrown into the mix and not once has there been "anonymous" included in the text. It will apparently keep an eye on everything your PC does, including the state its in, what's connected to it and what you do on it. Yes, Redmond will know exactly where your secret porn stash is hidden and every time you check it; hitting ctrl+F4 might be a quickly trained art by now but try explaining those contextual adverts to other people!

Two applications were filed last year about this, the first on July 5th which detailed the method of acquiring the data and the second on July 13th wrote about displaying the data.

There's no word that these will actually be put into practice, after all, can you imagine the backlash and potential security risks? Perhaps Microsoft is going to offer a free version of Windows that is kept up by ad revenue alone? Or perhaps that new middle manager with the horns, hooves, tail and dominating evil laugh might be looking for a promotion sooner than we think?

Drop your (non-profanity filled) thoughts in the forums.

46 Comments

Discuss in the forums Reply
RTT 18th July 2007, 11:15 Quote
That's insane. I could understand it if they did this to people using non-genuine copies, or offered windows for free if yuo want to have this adware crap, but if they're going to force that on normal, genuine installations, then that's a huge mistake. I hope they're just patenting it to stop other adware companies doing it :D
DougEdey 18th July 2007, 11:21 Quote
I've suspected this for a while, ever since I saw Microsoft advertising for advertisers. Basically it was saying that they wanted to advertise inside peoples homes.

Originally I thought it was just MSN/Live stuff. But no I think different. I'll try and find a picture of the original advert
Leitchy 18th July 2007, 11:32 Quote
If this did happen, especially to paying customers, then all it would do is drive people to illegal cracked "non snooping" Windows Software. So wouldn't be a good move for Microsoft. On the other hand, if it was targeted as a free windows release with marketing bumf then that seems to be fair enough.
Dr. Strangelove 18th July 2007, 11:39 Quote
if this happens I will move to linux faster than you can say "built-in adware no thanks"
shaq 18th July 2007, 11:52 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr. Strangelove
if this happens I will move to linux faster than you can say "built-in adware no thanks"

Why wait? :D
mmorgue 18th July 2007, 11:53 Quote
As much as I am for supporting legitimate, officially purchased software, hearing about something like this means I'm only going to be more for pirating a futures version of M$ software that's been "fixed" rather than give them my money for service-hogging adware.

/sigh
ChromeX 18th July 2007, 11:57 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr. Strangelove
if this happens I will move to linux faster than you can say "built-in adware no thanks"

Funny, I was just thinking the same thing!! :)
DXR_13KE 18th July 2007, 11:59 Quote
i think i will wait for MS's response..... there is no way they are doing this without loosing lots of customers....

edit: i think this is a strategic time to make a OS making company....
Hiren 18th July 2007, 12:04 Quote
Just because it's a patent doesn't mean it's going to happen. Perhaps it will be used for a low cost version of Windows for developing countries? Stil perhaps not the best way forward.
BioSniper 18th July 2007, 12:18 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by RTT
I hope they're just patenting it to stop other adware companies doing it :D

QFT.
Though is MS REALLY that nice to consumers?
mikeuk2004 18th July 2007, 12:21 Quote
I was thinking of actually buying Vista Premium as its only £65 OEM. Now I dont think so, as im playing less on Pc now as I cant afford to keep up.

I think a OS swap will be ideal for me if my vid editing programs and paint shop pro work on another Os, then ill swap as thats all I do now on PC and shop.
BlueDemon 18th July 2007, 12:37 Quote
I am truly amazed that anyone is surprised by this latest move towards a complete erosion of privacy and a total blanketing by advertising. It is perfectly in line with the course that MS have been sailing the last decade, helped along by unsuspecting people who blindly use their "user-friendly" aka tracker-friendly Passport login for just about every web-related activity. Has there been ANY inquiry as to what MS does right now with the data they gather from monitoring Passport/MSN activity?
This new scheme to mass-harvest private data is simply the next logical step. Maybe it's time to shop around for a nice Linux distro...
MonkeyNutZ 18th July 2007, 12:59 Quote
Yay for XP/2000
Dr. Strangelove 18th July 2007, 13:19 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by shaq
Why wait? :D

Simple I can't be bothered to learn Linux atm. But if MS pulls a stunt like that I will find a whole new reserve of motivation to change.
Cthippo 18th July 2007, 13:30 Quote
The reason Linux doesn't need to advertise is that MS does it for them! Long live the penguin! ;)
DarkLord7854 18th July 2007, 13:35 Quote
Well, time to switch to Mac :D
GoodBytes 18th July 2007, 13:41 Quote
nha, that will never happen... I'm actually glad that MS patent this idea, and not some spam maker company.
I remember MS also registered a patent of a TV with a camera on it that looks if the user eyes are actually watching the advertisement, else the ad will repeat. Moreover, it will ask several questions about each at, at the end of them. If the user answer wrong, the ad will repeat.

Up to now, I don't see them making TV's...
Redbeaver 18th July 2007, 14:27 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by DarkLord7854
Well, time to switch to Mac :D

ditto...

i play games less n less... i dont see any other solid reason to keep me with M$. i kno its only a patent, i dunno what they'r doing with it, but if they (if ever) decided to implement such feature (i cant find any other non-profanity word) in Vista which i paid $200 for......

...well lets just say i have to come out of my retirement n back to my ****** group in IRC....
chrisb2e9 18th July 2007, 14:42 Quote
thank god I happen to like xp. but I still have to wonder how hard it is to do a dual boot with linux.
Spacecowboy92 18th July 2007, 15:30 Quote
If they follow through with this I'll be over to linux faster than a realy fast thing.
FR34K 18th July 2007, 15:42 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Leitchy
If this did happen, especially to paying customers, then all it would do is drive people to illegal cracked "non snooping" Windows Software.
read my mind.

seriously, though...who does M$ think they are?
these are personal computers we're talking about here, our personal computers and not theirs, and they need to realize that we don't want half the crap they're (secretly or non-secretly) including in their software. it's bad enough they charge the price that they do.

M$: I send and angry face at you. >:( <-- see, SEE!!!
supermonkey 18th July 2007, 17:07 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by FR34K
seriously, though...who does M$ think they are?
these are personal computers we're talking about here, our personal computers and not theirs, and they need to realize that we don't want half the crap they're (secretly or non-secretly) including in their software. it's bad enough they charge the price that they do.
I understand why you are frustrated at Microsoft; I certainly wouldn't want to pay for adware either. However, while it may be your personal computer, you are running their software. If you don't like the terms in the EULA, you are always free to use an alternative.

-monkey
proxess 18th July 2007, 17:32 Quote
Seems like some people enjoy letting others know about their personal life. Its your software because you payed for it. And thank you, I really do feel free using an alternative.
Techno-Dann 18th July 2007, 17:52 Quote
Breaking news: Big Brother moves to Redmond.

My next system is going to dual-boot Vista/XUbuntu.
chrisb2e9 18th July 2007, 17:55 Quote
yup, alternatives it is. i'm sick of m$ telling mainstream people how the pc should be run. Without giving us any say in it. everytime a new windows comes out it gets harder and harder to configure it the way I want to. You can compare it to old cars vs new electronic ones. if the carb broke on my old 1988 I could fix it but on my 2006 it has to go into the shop.
Tyinsar 18th July 2007, 18:24 Quote
:(
Quote:
Originally Posted by RTT
...I hope they're just patenting it to stop other adware companies doing it :D
I Hope that's right but...
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr. Strangelove
if this happens I will move to linux faster than you can say "built-in adware no thanks"
+1

If it wasn't for games I would be running only Linux.:( I'm thinking it may be time to switch to only playing games that run natively in Linux. My Vista install is definitely going dual boot (again) anyway.
Flyingsheep 18th July 2007, 18:44 Quote
I already dual-boot XP/Ubuntu. I love using Linux but it's a pain to have to switch when I want to play a game or use a program that doesn't run natively. That is the only downside. Everything else is awesome.
Nexxo 18th July 2007, 19:23 Quote
Cheer up (as they say), it may never happen! And it won't.

MS Windows is still the OS of choice for most governmental and commercial institutions, which do not want to see their work-drone PCs spammed with distracting advertising (especially if it is for a competitor, and especially if it leaches their bandwidth and resources). If MS does this, all of a sudden every business in the world will discover the joy of Linux and OpenOffice. Virtually free, just as useful, and no worries about virusses...

Moreover if people get so annoyed already with spam that MS felt it a good move to incorporate adblockers in IE, and spam filters on Outlook and Hotmail, do you really think it will spam the home user PC? I can just see the sales pitch in PC World: "Er, no, Madam/Sir, you can't turn off those annoying adverts. They actually come with the OS. How much does Windows cost again, you ask?"

It is always amusing to see people react to every bit of news concerning MS with: "OMG, MS IS TAKING OVER TEH WORLD!!!!1111ONEONEONE". We had speculation about product activation that would not allow you to swap the motherboard --it didn't happen. We had speculation that you can transfer Vista to another PC (which includes un-installation from the previous PC) only once, instead of an unlimited number of times as with XP --it didn't happen.

MS knows full well that there are viable alternatives out there (such as OS X for the n00bs, and Linux for the g33ks), and that they offer the same functionality at an often much cheaper price. Redmond's worst nightmare would be if the average customer discovered this. So far most people feel comfortable with Windows, because it does the trick and it is what they have been used to for years, and change is uncomfortable... but only until staying where you are is even more uncomfortable. Then people make the switch... So don't expect a radical change in MS policy just yet.
supermonkey 18th July 2007, 19:32 Quote
I agree with the general sentiment here. If Microsoft opt to include this kind of software as part of the standard load, then I'll simply choose an alternative; I'm certainly not above using a Mac. I tried using Ubuntu a while back and I had a really positive experience. The were 3 things that brought me back to Windows: Graphics tablet drivers, Photoshop, and Games. Because of my job, I need easy access to my graphics stuff.

I know that I could get these things to work through various emulation utilities, and that's a hassle I'm willing to deal with if the time comes to make the switch.

However, I'm happy to continue running XP for the time being.

-monkey
C-Sniper 18th July 2007, 19:44 Quote
(redstripe Jamaican accent) Boo Adware Windows, Hooooraaayy Linux!
jweller 18th July 2007, 19:49 Quote
This really outrages me, but I feel helpless. :( I would trash Windows right now on my home computer if I had an easy alternative, grrrr.
Bladestorm 19th July 2007, 00:13 Quote
Its good that the news of this idea gets out now I think, if theres a big enough backlash to it before they've even started seriously working on it, the odds of them continuing/using it will presumably drop sharply compared to news getting out right as they are about to implement it.

And its hard to disagree with nexxo, implementing this in the main OS would be commercial suicide, though I might have argued the time scale since he's being fairly optomistic when it comes to businesses in general and there technical competency and [Insert word thats escaping me right now that means up-to-dateness].
boiled_elephant 19th July 2007, 03:25 Quote
One thing we ought to admit to ourselves, from experience, is that when M$ gets an idea, they go through with it no matter what. It's true (whoever said this earlier) that we should've seen this one coming, but I really just didn't. I didn't think they'd have the GALL to do this.
Personally, I've no reason to move past 2000/XP - they serve my needs fine, and I'm not bothered about any Vista-only titles so far. What DOES worry me is the possibility of a service pack 5 that brings this tactic to 2000/XP. That's when I go Mac.
KMS-oul 19th July 2007, 03:38 Quote
Ill just stick to osx and xp for my work and surfing. The only time I'll use vista is on my new PC I'm building which will be strictly for gaming.
proxess 19th July 2007, 08:28 Quote
I'll give you another reason why the alternative is just as main stream as the main stream itself.
ZERO <ibis> 19th July 2007, 08:41 Quote
My god....
If they implement this I just want to know how to not get it. I will do anything like never update my computer ever or buy any new stuff. I would even pay thousands not to something like this.

What kind of bs. They better make this in only their free **** b/c I will take my money some ware else. Ultimately what this does is make it easer for governments and other people to find out your personal information.
Nexxo 19th July 2007, 09:20 Quote
It won't happen. Chill.
FR34K 19th July 2007, 15:21 Quote
now, what I would like to see, is Mac make their OS compatible with all hardware, and/or game developers include linux installation.
that'd be a big kick in the ass for M$
ElZog 19th July 2007, 19:28 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by proxess
I'll give you another reason why the alternative is just as main stream as the main stream itself.

Can't see yer picture, just fails to load. What is it of?
Murd0k 19th July 2007, 20:24 Quote
About a year or so ago there was a program introduced by microsoft through one of it's updates to fish out the non genuine operating systems. Unfortunately for the average user it did more than just that. In fact it did just about everything listed in the first post. Bit-tech reported it to us and most on here took charge and got rid of it. Then microsoft took it out with another update about a month or two later.

Honestly, I think it's not so much microsoft taking over the world as it is helping the two worst programs of all time: Homeland Security and the Patriot Act. Remember those? If it doesn't fall through, lucky for us, for now. But they'll try again. Big Brother is always watching.
Faulk_Wulf 20th July 2007, 01:07 Quote
Over just the last year of being on these forums I have noticed a drastic increase of the number of people thinking about or switching to Linux. Including myself. Even magazines such as my personal favorite Maximum-PC Magazine have been running various articles. The process of running some distributions of Linux has become as easy or easier then Windows in most cases. The largest complaint I see is the lack of gaming support, along with a few other niche programs. (Photoshop/iMovie-esque programs, plus a variety of others I'm sure people will mention in response to this.) However, since the developers are essentially the users in a lot of cases, and since most of the users/developers are also gamers anymore-- I expect to see support for gaming on Linux platforms grow over the next year or two. With Dell selling Linux on their computers (regardless of what you think of the company themselves) and so many informal adopters among forum goers and computer users such as ourselves, hopefully nVidia or ATI/AMD will begin to support the OS and thus bring game support "officially" to Linux.

I use(d) Knoppix 5.1.1 LIVE at school during my Computer Hardware/Computer Operating Systems class. (The computers had removable hard drive bays, and the teacher wouldn't hand out the hard drives during lecture so that we wouldn't be on the Internet. One student burned Knoppix and that's how most of us in the class first learned of Linux.)

Now, since discover Ubuntu, I would use Ubuntu 7.04 (Feisty Fawn) to do the same thing. I also plan to dual-boot my new laptop with Ubuntu and Windows XP Professional. (Like most people: For games.)

Even if Microsoft doesn't go through with this patent and make it into a full product, the fact that such a product/idea was even made is crazy. It shows the direction that most corporations want to go with regards to people and their privacy.

(Also in regards to sentiments that people forfeit their rights by agreeing to use a company's OS and agreeing to their terms, I still think that regardless there should be an unquestionable reasonable expectation to privacy. Individuals should never be extorted or strong-armed by a product they're choosing to use. And hiding the software so that a common user doesn't even know its present is even worse. I get that you ARE choosing to use their product, but I would think that common sense would tell you that you would alienate your educated market base while trying to manipulate the uneducated. 'Course, when has common sense prevailed in the RIAA/MPAA/DMCA era?)

I know that France(?) changed completely over to Linux for all government computers. I wonder, if this went through if other countries would do the same? I mean I'm sure as Tim S said a while back: I doubt governments and companies want to have all their data out on the Internet, or to be covered in advertising by their competitors products. (And I'm sure that this software can't help security issues too much.)

...

That's all I have for now. Have a good day.
completemadness 20th July 2007, 03:22 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by BioSniper
QFT.
Though is MS REALLY that nice to consumers?
quick answer ? - no !
proxess 20th July 2007, 11:52 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by ElZog
Can't see yer picture, just fails to load. What is it of?

Should be fine now



Wasn't it China or Japan that changed all government computers?
supermonkey 21st July 2007, 06:46 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Murd0k
Honestly, I think it's not so much microsoft taking over the world as it is helping the two worst programs of all time: Homeland Security and the Patriot Act. Remember those? If it doesn't fall through, lucky for us, for now. But they'll try again. Big Brother is always watching.

Are you actually being serious? Do you honestly believe that Microsoft and the US Government are working together to mine data from your PC? It makes for a great movie plot, but in reality such conspiracy theories rarely hold water.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ZERO <ibis>
If they implement this I just want to know how to not get it. I will do anything like never update my computer ever or buy any new stuff. I would even pay thousands not to something like this.
Really? In that case, I've got a bridge you might be interested in. I may even have some beach-front property, too. :p

-monkey
GoodBytes 21st July 2007, 20:44 Quote
I think these type of patent is just used so that no one does it, as MS doesn't want it to happend on their system, or simlply don't want to see it anywhere. So if someone does it, MS can sue them and put them out of buisness or simply sell the system/idea.
Boogle 17th June 2009, 13:03 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by GoodBytes
I think these type of patent is just used so that no one does it, as MS doesn't want it to happend on their system, or simlply don't want to see it anywhere. So if someone does it, MS can sue them and put them out of buisness or simply sell the system/idea.

I hope you're right. If MS put spyware into Windows, I would move to OSX/Linux immediately. I wouldn't be surprised if OSX also added similiar tech if Windows added it though - long live Linux!
Log in

You are not logged in, please login with your forum account below. If you don't already have an account please register to start contributing.



Discuss in the forums