Monday, November 14, 2005

Netcraft: Microsoft Update Will Remove Sony DRM Rootkit

The firestorm over Sony's use of root kit technology continues with news from Microsoft (courtesy of Netcraft in this case) stating that they are going to issue updates to their Malicious Code Removal tool to detect and Remove the Sony DRM Rootkit. Good news.

I'm all for the protection of intellectual property. I make a small bit of money writing (books and for technical magazines) and am behind Sony on the broader issue of protection. Where I disagree is over how this to be achieved. And for the avoidance of doubt, , installing a root kit is simply wron. So wrong as to wonder how Sony ever could have considered it OK! Their ham-fisted attempts to 'help' users out once the news leaked reeks of corporate arrogance taken way too far. I can not understand why Sony want me to agree to being on Sony's marketing lists in order to remove a root kit they installed without my knowedge or permission.

In my view, Sony should publically apologise for this action and should take ALL possible steps to remove all the damage. If necessary, they should be required legally to be more upfront with consumers. An given the strong arm tatcics the motion picture and recording industry uses against file sharers, Sony should face similar stong penalites: the maximum fines possible and execs facing a real possibility of going to gaol.

This issue also raises the issue of the power of blogs. Mark's original article is just 2 weeks old. Last Friday evening, a Google search for "Sony Rootkit" returned 3 million or so hits. By Satuday, this had grown to over 5 million, while today it's at 9 million. A huge PR disaster to say the least. In two weeks, Sony has turned into a pretty hated company - I've thus far not seen anyone defend Sony's actions. But it's clear that, in today's world, simple technical articles like Mark's can cause a major PR firestorm. I'm willing to bet that someone at Sony (or some other associated legal firm) is burning midnight oil trying to working out if and how they can sue Mark for Sony's losses.

The sooner Sony apologise in public, the better. In my personal opinion of course!

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