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Microsofts' MediaPlayer is Tracking you!!

Discussion in 'Channel Zero' started by Agent Uprise, Feb 22, 2002.

  1. Agent Uprise

    Agent Uprise New Jack

    Joined: Feb 17, 2002 Messages: 70 Likes Received: 0
    Agent- Apparently AOLs' winamp does the same.

    Microsoft's new version of its popular Media Player software is logging the songs and movies that customers play.
    WASHINGTON - Microsoft's new version of its popular Media Player software is logging the songs and movies that customers play.

    The company changed its privacy statement Wednesday to notify customers about the technology after inquiries from The Associated Press.

    The system creates a list on each computer that could be a treasure for marketing companies, lawyers or others. Microsoft says it has no plans to sell the data collected by Media Player 8, which comes free with the Windows XP (news - web sites) operating system. The company said last month it had sold more than 17 million copies of Windows XP.

    "If you're watching DVDs you don't want your wife to know about, you might not want to give her your password," said David Caulton, Microsoft's lead program manager for Windows Media.

    The media player has been bundled as a free addition to Windows for several years and allows users to play music CDs, DVD movies and digitally stored songs on their computers.

    When a CD is played, the player downloads the disc name and titles for each song from a Web site licensed by Microsoft. That information is stored on a small file on each computer in the latest version of the software.

    The new version released with Windows XP last fall also added the same technology for DVD movies.

    Microsoft's original privacy statement informed customers that they were downloading the information about CDs but never stated it was being stored in a log file on each computer.

    The new statement makes clear that information is being downloaded for both DVDs and CDs, but does not explain how users can eliminate or get into the log file.

    "It definitely could have been clearer and more specific about DVDs," Caulton said.

    Clearing the list of songs and movie titles would cripple Media Player. Stopping the program from collecting any more information would mean changing the software's settings, but that would disable Internet broadcasts.

    As part of downloading the information about songs and movies from the Web site, the program also transmits an identifier number unique to each user on the computer. That creates the possibility that user habits could be tracked and sold for marketing purposes.

    Privacy experts said they feared the log file could be used by investigators, divorce lawyers, snooping family members, marketing companies or others interested in learning about a person's entertainment habits. It also could be used to make sure users have paid for the music or movie, and have not made an illegal copy.

    "The big picture might be the owners of intellectual property wanting to track access to their property," said Peter Swire, a law professor at Ohio State University.

    Microsoft said the program creates the log file so a user does not have to download repeatedly the same track, album or movie information. The company said the ID number was created simply to allow Media Players users to have a personal account on the Web site dealing with the software.

    Neither is sold or shared with others, and no information is collected on Microsoft's servers that would be personally identifiable, officials said.

    "This is essentially a case where it (the ID) doesn't serve any purpose and it isn't used," Caulton said.

    Jonathan Usher, another Windows Media executive, said Microsoft has no plans to market aggregate information about its customers' viewing habits, but would not rule it out.

    "If users tell us that they want the ability to get recommendations, that's something we could look into on the behalf of users," Usher said.

    In a recent memo, Microsoft chairman Bill Gates (news - web sites) ordered his company to check for privacy and security concerns before adding new features.

    "Users should be in control of how their data is used," Gates wrote. "Policies for information use should be clear to the user. Users should be in control of when and if they receive information to make best use of their time."

    Privacy researcher Richard Smith, who researched how Media Player stored and transmitted the information, questioned why the program has to give chapter information for DVDs at all because almost all discs have chapter listings in an interactive menu within the movie.

    He said the feature seems to conflict with Gates' directive.

    "You can really see the Microsoft culture coming through that Gates wants to change. These guys are digging in their heels," he said.

    REGULATOR Elite Member

    Joined: Sep 6, 2001 Messages: 3,383 Likes Received: 0
    doh...now they know about all the porn im watching
  3. tue skinny

    tue skinny Elite Member

    Joined: Jul 3, 2001 Messages: 4,781 Likes Received: 0
    dam, i didnt know about that. i have xp so ive been using that shit.thanks for the information. theyve also know of all the porn i have and watched on my computer, dam. i tell you. what next there probly monitering the aim..
  4. and now you choke

    and now you choke Elite Member

    Joined: Feb 19, 2001 Messages: 2,558 Likes Received: 0
    who's the lying, dirty scumbags? microsoft or the porn viewers? microsoft.
  5. kaesthebluntedwonder

    kaesthebluntedwonder Elite Member

    Joined: May 16, 2000 Messages: 3,066 Likes Received: 1
    is microsoft that dumb that they have to track what people watch to see what good porn is out there? sheesh, fuckin bill gates
  6. SayOne

    SayOne Guest

    so is real player
  7. Some1

    Some1 12oz Loyalist

    Joined: Oct 13, 2001 Messages: 14,836 Likes Received: 93
    Iam proud of my porn :D
  8. Agent Uprise

    Agent Uprise New Jack

    Joined: Feb 17, 2002 Messages: 70 Likes Received: 0
    Rich DeMillo, chief security officer for Hewlett-Packard. "If you want a truly secure system, turn the machine off"

    Anybody using linux here? I tried downloading it a few times from
    ftp (<- is that the right word?) sites but I couldn't understand what the fuck was goin on!!!!
  9. ASER1NE

    ASER1NE Veteran Member

    Joined: Oct 15, 2001 Messages: 7,578 Likes Received: 3
    thats stupid , aint there a way to just delete that file.....
  10. --zeSto--

    --zeSto-- Guest

    if winamp can track me...

    then 'the man' must know that www.sumosound.com
    is the funkiest stream out there!!

    fuck with Microsoft....
    and this guy will show up at you door!
    -------------------------------- [img]http://www.sumosound.com/images/(((((sumosound)))))_04.gif'>
  11. omone

    omone Member

    Joined: Mar 26, 2001 Messages: 750 Likes Received: 0

    mark of the beast
  12. Clever Name

    Clever Name Junior Member

    Joined: Jan 29, 2002 Messages: 189 Likes Received: 0
    Golly, they must know about all the Sesame Street reruns I watch when no one's around. I'm fucked for sure.
  13. Vanity

    Vanity Veteran Member

    Joined: Apr 11, 2000 Messages: 7,673 Likes Received: 6
    agent, where'd you find this?

    and if you go to linuxmall.com, they'll send you a linux cd for free (minus shipping).
  14. Dr. Dazzle

    Dr. Dazzle Veteran Member

    Joined: Nov 19, 2001 Messages: 8,147 Likes Received: 3
    As long as they don't see me whacking off, they can record all the shit they want.....
  15. Cracked Ass

    Cracked Ass Veteran Member

    Joined: Oct 24, 2001 Messages: 7,898 Likes Received: 47
    This is nothing new. Microsoft has been using trackers for a long time, in software as innocuous as Word. MS Word looks at every file you open in it and sends a record of it back to the company (assuming you're online). A hacker discovered this because he had a hub set up and was monitoring the stream of incoming and outgoing info. (I don't know all the technical details but I trust my source.) He noticed some blips of outgoing data when he was in MS Word but not doing anything that would create outgoing data. Long story short, he found that MS tracer, sending back snapshots of everyone's documents to the company, presumably for demographics and target marketing purposes.
    Microsoft sucks. Their products suck and their tactics suck. (They built a delay into loading times for Hotmail inboxes if you're using a non-IE browser. Notice how it takes longer to get your hotmail using Netscape.) I wouldn't be surprised if they inserted code into Windows which slowly corrupts non-IE browsers to make you want to switch to IE.