Microsoft sued over WGA

By | June 29, 2006

On the heels of the uproar over Self-Destructing Windows installs, a lawsuit was filed in US District court(seattle) this week.  The lawsuit calls Microsoft’s WGA a spyware.

The suit by Los Angeles resident Brian Johnson, filed this week in U.S. District Court in Seattle, seeks class-action status for claims that Microsoft didn’t adequately disclose details of the tool when it was delivered to PC users through the company’s Automatic Update system.

Windows Genuine Advantage is designed to check the validity of a computer user’s copy of the operating system. But the tool became a subject of heightened controversy earlier this month, after PC users began noticing that it was making daily contact with Microsoft’s servers without their knowledge, even if their software was valid.

“Microsoft effectively installed the WGA software on consumers’ systems without providing consumers any opportunity to make an informed choice about that software,” the suit alleges.

While the lawsuit should open Microsoft’s eyes a little, I seriously doubt that it will go anywhere.  The behavior of the software is borderline, but doesn’t necessarily cross the line into full-blown spyware/malware.  Microsoft has a bit of an edge in that they released a new version that doesn’t “phone home” anymore and also released instructions for disabling the notifications.

I have to admit that given the opportunity, I would not jump on board the class action.  Would you?