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[FYI] Microsoft: Kreative Anwendungen fuer INTELs PSN


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7 March 1999

The New York Times, March 7, 1999, Page 1 

Microsoft to Alter Software in Response to Privacy Concerns 


SAN FRANCISCO -- The Microsoft Corporation moved to defuse a
potentially explosive privacy issue today, saying it would modify a
feature of its Windows 98 operating system that has been quietly used
to create a vast data base of personal information about computer

Microsoft conceded that the feature, a unique identifying number used
by Windows and other Microsoft products, had the potential to be far
more invasive than a traceable serial number in the Intel
Corporation's new Pentium III that has privacy advocates up in arms.
The difference is that the Windows number is tied to an individual's
name, to identifying numbers on the hardware in his computer and even
to documents that he creates. 

The combination of the Windows number with all these data, the company
said, could result in the ability to track a single user and the
documents he created across vast computer networks. Hackers could
compromise the resulting data base, or subpoenas might allow
authorities to gain access to information that would otherwise remain
private and unavailable. Privacy advocates fear that availability will
lead to abuses. 

"We're definitely sensitive to any privacy concerns," Robert Bennett,
Microsoft's group product manager for Windows, said. 

"The software was not supposed to send this information unless the
computer user checked a specific option." 


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