SourceMicrosoft's Windows Genuine Advantage woes aren't likely to end any time soon. Soon after a global WGA failure caused by human error comes word that a privacy suit has been brought against the company in China over alleged WGA behavior. This joins similar suits in the US that have described WGA as "spyware."
Lu Feng, a student at Beijing University, is asking for compensation and a reversal of practices from the Redmond giant, saying that WGA's analytical methods are akin to snooping technologies. The First Intermediate People's Court of Beijing has accepted the case for review, but this is not a sign of its technical merits. Nevertheless, Feng will get his day in court.
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According to scattered reports, some of which are contradictory, Lu Feng first installed WGA on his Windows XP computer before realizing what it was. Feng believes that Microsoft failed to provide him with proper notice of WGA's capabilities or how it would affect his use of his computer. Furthermore, Feng objects to the click-through software EULA, to which he had to agree before even installing the software.
Feng's complaint asserts that WGA monitors his computer usage closely enough to constitute a privacy violation. Microsoft has long insisted that WGA does not invade privacy and only monitors what is necessary to prevent unauthorized modifications to anti-piracy tools in Windows. WGA does monitor hardware changes to the system, though, but it is unclear how this would constitute a privacy violation in and of itself, in either US or Chinese law.
According to China.org.cn, which first reported the story to the English-speaking world, Feng is asking for a mere $90 in compensation (though Xinhua says the total bill would be closer to $180). He also wants Microsoft to release an official tool to allow the uninstallation of WGA, the deletion of his "private" information, and a public apology in a Beijing newspaper.
As of yet, there is no word on what other "personal information" Feng believes is being collected aside from that collected by the hardware monitoring aspect of WGA.
When contacted for a statement, Microsoft deferred discussing an ongoing legal matter.