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Windows 7 Will Let Microsoft Track Your Every Move

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posted on Oct, 7 2009 @ 09:06 AM

From FireEagle to iPhone apps that use your current location, everyone it seems is racing to get on the geo-aware software bandwagon. So far most geo-aware features have been opt-in and offer reasonable privacy controls (FireEagle is a good example of this), but Microsoft’s upcoming Windows 7 plans to offer developers location tools at the operating system level and the company doesn’t seem to think users care about control or privacy.

Before you freak out at the thought that Redmond will soon be tracking your every move, keep in mind that the new features will be disabled by default. That’s the good news.

The bad news is that if you turn the geo features on, there are very few controls available and, yes, Microsoft could easily track your every move. Now you can freak out.

According to CNet, which saw a demo of the new geo features, once the service is turned on, there are only two means of limiting the geo-tracking — you can either limit to a specific user, or you can limit it to just traditional applications (rather than services running in the background).

But here’s the essential problem: If you enable the geo-tracking for say, a restaurant searching app in your gadgets collection, there’s no way to stop other apps from accessing your location as well. It’s an all or nothing feature.

While geo-aware locations are certain a hot item in the software world right now, they’re also at the heart of many ongoing privacy debates. Unfortunately Microsoft’s new feature is exactly the sort of thing that turns people’s mild suspicions into full, raging paranoia.

Here’s Microsoft’s explanation for why the geo-tracking will not offer much control. It’s also the paranoid’s greatest fear in a nutshell:

The reason, Microsoft officials say, is that Windows doesn’t have a reliable means of determining that an application is what it says it is, so any attempt to limit the location to a specific application would be easily spoofable.

So the short story is Windows 7 has geo-tracking features, but aside from turning them on and off, you have basically no control.

That strikes us as a recipe for disaster and something that will eventually blow up in Microsoft’s face (whether justified or not) because geo-tracking is a very sensitive issue and this implementation seems entirely ham-fisted and ill-conceived. Of course it’s a little better than past attempts by the company, which don’t even offer an on/off switch.

But why, for the love of all thing sane, would Microsoft not at least offer to notify you when an app is trying access geo-information? Indeed, that would be a good start. Then add the ability to deny the application access and you’re getting to the useful stage. Unfortunately, Microsoft reps tell CNet that such controls are “not currently on Microsoft’s roadmap for Windows 7.”

I certainly will not be upgrading to windows 7, unless they can provide the tools to deny applications access to the geo location.

Pretty ridiculous that they didn't design some sort of solution.

posted on Oct, 7 2009 @ 09:29 AM

Originally posted by warrenb

Before you freak out at the thought that Redmond will soon be tracking your every move, keep in mind that the new features will be disabled by default. That’s the good news.

The bad news is that if you turn the geo features on, there are very few controls available and, yes, Microsoft could easily track your every move. Now you can freak out.

Says right there they will be disabled by default and that you could turn them on. If you could turn it on, it stands to reason you could simply turn it back off.

But apparently if you turn it on for one app, any other app could then use it since it was on. I think it should be more application exclusive and if you turn it on for one then its only on for that one.

I don't agree with anything/one tracking me. But in todays age, theres really little you can do about it.

But maybe you shouldn't freak out, just yet.

posted on Oct, 7 2009 @ 09:31 AM
Oh but they let students but it for £30, i wonder why...

posted on Oct, 7 2009 @ 09:32 AM
I am currently running Win 7 RC1, and so far have not found any Geo Location features built in to it.

For Geo Location to work, you need a GPS position - unless they are talking about WIFI and triangulating your position from the towers. From what I have read, they mention neither.

Do you have or know of any other information in regards to this? I would really like to know.

Note: having used Win 7 RC1 now for some time, I dread ever having to go back to Vista. Win 7 is cleaner, faster, more stable and uses at lot less resources. My only gripe is that the virtual XP mode requires hardware visualization which my processor does not have - I need to upgrade my cheap processor...........

posted on Oct, 7 2009 @ 09:33 AM
Hmm as with the implementation into new cameras I had some thoughts:

I don't want a location system on a camera, what say there is a backdoor (like most products) which allows tracking of people filming a protest or similar event? What say something [insert mega nwo drama here] happened and the cameraman was 'white vanned away' later with the footage....

Wndows is already a letter agency infested product (NSAkey anyone), so no suprise here really, ip tracking ain't much harder for a letter agency not to mention cellphones being easy location prey already - much more of a widespread threat than some swiftly replaced microsoft operating system.

What goes into a computer can easily come out, without you knowing. You can read anything with an em emission remotely, let alone hardware and software level shenanigans on a computer, echelon system or the nearest naurus fibre sniffer equipped, AT&T exchange....


reply to post by LenGXV6

Windows 7 is what vista should have been. I ain't paying for either, tricks like that really get on my grass! Intels microsoft twisting sham 'gpu' cert for 'vista ready' also made them look stupid, what a mess dealing with clients wondering why their 'vista ready' machine can't actually handle aero.

[edit on 7/10/09 by GhostR1der]

posted on Oct, 7 2009 @ 09:36 AM
seems like its always bad news for microsoft, how come i never hear anything about macs?

posted on Oct, 7 2009 @ 09:38 AM

Originally posted by Haydn_17
Oh but they let students but it for £30, i wonder why...

Yep they do seem to do alot of this with young people. Ms are very sneaky, like a paedo with a lolly pop.

posted on Oct, 7 2009 @ 09:39 AM
Hi All

here is a site that wioll tell you about MS really hidden files and the tracking they do anyway, regardless of what version i believe...

Microsofts really hidden files

hope this helps anyone see the real deal...

have the best day


posted on Oct, 7 2009 @ 09:42 AM

Originally posted by LenGXV6
My only gripe is that the virtual XP mode requires hardware visualization which my processor does not have - I need to upgrade my cheap processor...........

Off topic here... But if your willing to sacrifice a chunk of your hard drive you should be able to dual boot win 7 and XP as a workaround

posted on Oct, 7 2009 @ 09:48 AM

Yep, did think of that, and am still debating whether I will go that road. I only need XP mode for a few games that refuse to run in Win 7, May just get some new games instead.

GhostR1der: I will agree that Win 7 is what Vista should have been, and no, I do not want to get caught out by their tricks, Its the reason I am following the development of Win 7 closely. Come 22 October, we will be able to see what the package is that get released to the public, I will wait till then to make my decision to buy.

posted on Oct, 7 2009 @ 09:53 AM
I've been running the full version of Windows 7 Professional for a couple of weeks now. (MSDN) I like Windows 7, it's like a neutered version of Vista, which is good thing. Didn't know about this, not exactly a deal breaker for me, but I will keep a close eye on it.

Thanks for sharing.

posted on Oct, 7 2009 @ 09:55 AM
How horrible is it if I say it doesn't bother me if they track me since I could be easily found by anyone who bothered to look anyway? That's bad isn't it?

It does bother me to the extent that it's not really any of their business what I search for online or where exactly I am when I'm on my computer. What bothers me the most is now I'm wondering how easy it would be for someone to hack into that tracking to be able to pinpoint my location if I had the geo stuff turned on... That's a scarier thought to me than Microsoft knowing my location and what I search for.

posted on Oct, 7 2009 @ 09:57 AM
as if theres not any way to block this geo tracking thing.
hackers always find a way to fight the system.

posted on Oct, 7 2009 @ 09:59 AM
reply to post by GhostR1der

Just for the record, GPU=Graphical Processing Unit.
This is the processor in your video card or in the "onboard" video section of the motherboard.

Unless, you are trying to run areo, it is not a overly big deal.

I ran vista on my laptop(came that way) until I moved to win 7.

I suspect you meant CPU=Computer Processing Unit, the main brains of the computer.

This is important, but, in my professional opinion, ram is a bigger issue.

Vista loves ram and uses large amounts of it.

Vista capable laptops with 512 ram are just that.

Capable of running Vista (not fast at all) but not necessarily other programs.

Personally, I would recommend 4 gigs of ram with Vista and win 7 for that matter, even though win 7 is a much lighter load.

posted on Oct, 7 2009 @ 10:02 AM
But whats stopping you from using multiple firewalls and blocking those certain apps connection to the internet? thats always available.

I for one, don't like using new Operating Systems. the update bugs are the worst. i like to stay one or two OS(s) behind the curve.

posted on Oct, 7 2009 @ 10:40 AM
What's the big deal? As soon as you connect to the internet it says where you are, it's not like I'm gonna be taking my computer to an underground lair up in the mountains somewhere. I didn't read anywhere that they're looking in your personal files and stuff, they're probably just doing it for sales purposes, then again maybe I just don't get it.

posted on Oct, 7 2009 @ 10:47 AM
reply to post by mrmonsoon

Dargh!!!! Gesture browsing killed my original reply and I'm currently one handed after a tendon inury so i'll keep this brief.

I was referring to on board 'gpu' (northbridge+cpu) as you stated, pretty much intel and microsoft pulled the wool with 'vista ready' and the not so ready large 915/945gm etc 'extreme graphics' families of laptops and desktops. Aero is a feature I'd be expecting to use on my fancy new laptop if it had vista. People are pissed because they can't.

"The '915' chipset which is not Aero capable is in a huge number of laptops and was tagged as 'Vista Capable' but not Vista Premium. I don't know if this was a good call. But these function but will never be great. Even a 945 set has new builds of drivers coming out constantly but hopes are on the next chipset rather than this one."

They are unable to use the Aero interface or to access a number of premium features such as the Desktop Window Manager, live thumbnails, “transparency” or 3D graphics.

Bit OT sorry op... but another thing I'd like to point out:

A little trip back through history

Win 98 | win98se (98-98se keys are exchangeable though)
Win me | win xp
vista | win 7

What's in common? Everything on the left sucked, was largely spat at (moreso than usual for a microsoft product) and was replaced quickly by the right version, which had longer support and more development.
Fooled ya once, fooled ya twice, fooled ya thrice!

posted on Oct, 7 2009 @ 11:14 AM
I am still iffy on Win 7.

I will likely wait a year or so . . . if the "civilized" world lasts that long

posted on Oct, 7 2009 @ 11:41 AM
I think what we should do is leave the Win7 Geo-aware feature disabled in the default setting. Then, if we want a geo-aware app, hopefully we can find a 3rd party application that will allow us to do what we want with greater control than microsoft allows.

For example, MS also provides a built-in firewall, but most serious users don't use that one and get a "real" firewall from a 3rd party instead. I see this geo-aware feature the same way. But it might take a little while for the 3rd party apps to complete development since Win 7 is so new.

[edit on 7-10-2009 by Arbitrageur]

posted on Oct, 7 2009 @ 11:52 AM

Originally posted by Haydn_17
Oh but they let students but it for £30, i wonder why...

Can get it for free here if your school belongs to the "club" [MSDN Academic Alliance Software Center] which mine does and I had been considering upgrading my laptop from Vista to 7. We'll see, I don't really have any problems with Vista, so...

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