By now you have probably heard many comments about Windows 10 and its impact on privacy. The question is, what does the agreement really say? The exact quote from the End User License Agreement states “Sometimes you’ll need software updates to keep using the Services. We may automatically check your version of the software and download software updates or configuration changes, including those that prevent you from accessing the Services, playing counterfeit games, or using unauthorized hardware peripheral devices. You may also be required to update the software to continue using the Services.”
The way we could interpret this, is if you use unauthorized software or hardware, Win10 could disable them. Since it mentions specifically “counterfeit games” it is unlikely to think they would stop there. That raises other questions as well. What if Windows does not like the version you are running? Would it still run? What if a friend makes you a copy of their software, could that be disabled?
Clearly, the statement was written to be vague, so you have to wonder about what Microsoft is really saying here. Another interpretation of this could actually be based on cross platform software. If that is the case, then it may not be as bad as it sounds. For years, Microsoft and other game systems have had some game safeguards. In other words, if you try to take a pirated game online, it won’t work. That part is not entirely uncommon, and many would expect that to be the case. With the current trend of computing moving more towards tablets and phones, maybe this is written for them.
The bottom line is, until this is made clear by Microsoft, we are left with more questions. Who is Microsoft targeting? What platforms are they referring to? How far will they go? Are they going after PC users? All of these are questions that could be answered with a bit of clarity from them.
The question is, will we actually get any clarity? The EULA was written this way for a reason. Perhaps the motivation is, “If we tell people what we are going after, we are telling others they are safe”. By leaving the statement intentionally vague, Microsoft leaves the door open to go after users on all platforms. No matter what, if their goal is to try to win the hearts of their users, some less ambiguous language would be a good way to start.