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Or you could just download it

December 12, 2007

I hate people looking over my shoulder. I hate my privacy being invaded. I don’t like when someone creeps up to my cube (um, when I used to actually have a cube) and doesn’t make any sounds until they start talking and it scares the crap out of me. To this end I would imagine most people feel pretty much the same.

Disregarding this, Microsoft’s marketing department decided that they could probably trick a lot of people into coughing up vital personal information in exchange for a free copy of their miraculously pointless and buggy operating system, Vista, specifically the Vista Ultimate Extreme Super Happy Family Time Fun!!!! edition. You could also get MS Office 2007 Ultimate. Surprisingly not included is a copy of Mortal Kombat Ultimate for Sega. Microsoft really needs to lay off the descriptive subtitles for their software.

At the actual survey site, Microsoft uses some big paragraphs and tiny fonts to disguise the fact that you are submitting to send them information about what you do on your computer. Automatically, without your discretion.

If you choose to participate in the automated feedback program, information about your software and your computer will be recorded and sent back to Microsoft.

Seriously. Also, if you’re not paying attention and just clicking next to get free shit (everyone), you won’t notice that the option for “automatic” feedback is checked by default. Niiiiice.

Well, admittedly, this isn’t really that interesting of a story, except…a bunch of people actually fucking did it.

Not long after Microsoft pulled the offer, users commenting on Engadget noticed the vanishing act. Someone identified as Paul Newall claimed he e-mailed Microsoft to ask for an explanation. “This is the response I got,” said Newall. “‘Thank you for your interest in the feedback program. Due to high volume, we have reached our ‘while supplies last’ limit and have closed our free product incentive on 12/11/2007 at 2 p.m.'”

“While supplies last”, or, “until we got enough dumb people to actually do this”. Legally, they probably can’t capture (or do anything with) data other than information on what you install or what errors you encounter. But inside the FAQ I found this tidbit about what they collect:

File and folder information, such as the number of files and folders located in common places (for example, in Documents).

That doesn’t seem sketchy at all!

what is it to laid someone?

Looking for dollars? Are you gullible, and stupid…as hell? You may qualify to be part of our dangerous experiment! Bring your resume, wallet, social security, ATM, and all credit cards to Carl’s Car Wash. Minorities need not apply, or we gonna sue your balls to the wall.

“…this sounds promising.”

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