Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Sony Spyware

The Boston Globe is reporting that Sony has started including software on their music CDs that is automatically installed on computers when you play that music CD in your computer. This software which is not obvious, nor easily removable, hides itself in the Windows Operating System and limits the users ability to copy the music onto their computers. It also locks copied files so they cannot be shared over the Internet.

According to Computer Associates International Inc. the software also collects information from the computer that plays the discs. It then secretly communicates with Sony over the Internet if the computer has an Internet connection. The software transmits the name of the CD and the IP address of the listener's computer to an office of Sony's music division in Cary, North Carolina.

Computer Associates considers this Sony Software to be spyware that collects personal information without the computer owners permission.

I consider this move by Sony to be dispicable and dishonest. Sony says that they have a website that will allow users to uninstall this software. "So what?" The software shouldn't get installed on a users system in the first place. So providing a means to remove unautorized software is not enough. I don't share music or software online. But I do like to play CDs on my computer. I buy CDs for the music not for the software that may come on the disc. I consider this latest move by Sony to be an invasion of privacy and an act of sabotage. But more importantly it signals a concious decision by Sony to adopt a corporate attitude that they can't be trusted anymore.

My solution to this situation is simple. It will be a cold day in hell before I ever again buy another music CD, or anything else for that matter with the Sony name on it. I have used Sony electronics since I bought my first VCR in 1983. I have owned a Sony Rear Profection TV and several other audio or video devices. But the items I own now will be the last I ever buy. Sony has proven that they are willing to invade my privacy and sabotage my computer. I am certainly not going to pay them to do so.

A final note to Samsung and Sony's other Blu-ray DVD partners. Sony just made a marketing move that is going to drive away their customers in droves. You had better get ready to buy a DVD-HD system.

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