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November 3, 2005
Sony/BMG Still Not Coming Clean About Rootkit DRM
Ed Felten, tracking Sony/BMG's attempts to get back on the security wagon in the wake of the rootkit DRM scandal [emphasis, mine]:
Yesterday, the companies released a software update that they say “removes the cloaking technology component that has been recently discussed in a number of articles”. Reading that statement, and the press statements by company representitives, you might think that that’s all the update does. It’s not.
The update is more than 3.5 megabytes in size, and it appears to contain new versions of almost all the files included in the initial installation of the entire DRM system, as well as creating some new files. In short, they’re not just taking away the rootkit-like function — they’re almost certainly adding things to the system as well. And once again, they’re not disclosing what they’re doing.
Speaking of disclosure, Felten also responds to law professor Eric Goldman
, who argues
that regardless of how people feel about DRM, Sony/BMG's EULA appears to cross all the t's and dot the i's. Writes Felten [emphasis, mine]:
While the legal question is beyond my expertise, it’s awfully hard to see how, from a common-sense viewpoint, SonyBMG could be said to have disclosed that they might be installing rootkit-like software. Surely the user’s consent to installing “a small proprietary software program … intended to protect the audio files embodied on the CD” does not give SonyBMG free rein to do absolutely anything they like to the user’s computer.
Surely not. And that's where (much of) the anger and outrage is coming from.
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