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Washington outlaws Windows
The Washington State House and Senate passed Engrossed Substitute House Bill 1012. This means that spyware is now illegal in the great State of Washington, home of Microsoft (in Redmond, Washington). In fact, Microsoft helped support the passage of the bill, along with eBay. Does anyone else here see the irony of this? Here's Microsoft, purveyor of some of the worst spyware on the planet (especially by the broad standards of Bill 1012 ), supporting the passage of a law in its own home state that will effectively make a criminal organization of it. Consider what you know of Microsft's planned "Black Box" functionality for Longhorn, its inclusion of spyware-riddled software such as MSN Messenger and Windows Media Player in Windows already, and its recent use of Windows Update functionality to remove competing products from end-users' computers. Now read this description of what is defined as "spyware" according to the new Washington law: software that opens "multiple, sequential, stand-alone advertisements in the owner or operator's internet browser", logs keystrokes, takes over control of the computer, modifies its security settings, falsely represents "that computer software has been disabled", or prevents "through intentionally deceptive means, an owner or operator's reasonable efforts to block the installation or execution of, or to disable, computer software by causing the software that the owner or operator has properly removed or disabled automatically to reinstall or reactivate on the computer". The only question now is whether the EFF and ACLU will get together and sue the crap out of Microsoft as they should. One can only hope.