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Microsoft To Add A Black Box To Windows 514

Posted by Zonk
from the we're-going-down dept.
An anonymous reader writes "According to ZDNet, Microsoft plans to add the software equivalent of a 'black box' flight recorder to Windows. According to the article, 'The tool will build on the existing Watson error-reporting tool in Windows but will provide Microsoft with much deeper information, including what programs were running at the time of the error and even the contents of documents that were being created.'" Commentary available via C|Net as well.
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Microsoft To Add A Black Box To Windows

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  • by ackthpt (218170) * on Tuesday April 26, 2005 @01:37PM (#12349752) Homepage Journal
    "Think of it as a flight data recorder, so that any time there's a problem, that 'black box' is there helping us work together and diagnose what's going on," Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates

    Except the blackbox on a jet won't (unless I'm woefully uninformed more than usual) tell what you were doing in your own seat when the plane went down.

    "occupant of 17A was eating peanuts, doing inflight magazine crossword and had dirty underwear"

    "Our stance on this is that the user is in control," Sullivan [Windows lead product manager] said. "In the consumer environment, you will be presented with a dialog that clearly gives you the choice whether to share the information and then also provides exactly what the detail is so you can parse character by character what's being sent."

    Sounds reasonable, so long as it doesn't hide anything from view. Of course, if you have Visual Studio you can hit Debug and lookie yourself, which is usually more helpful than anything I've ever got back from Microsoft.

    The probablem was likely caused by a faulty driver

    And consumers could have a tough time knowing just what information they were sending. Though they'll be able to see the contents of a document, they may not recognize the significance of the technical data--such as register settings--that's being sent.

    Consumers stick with what works. If hitting Don't Send works, they stick with it. If the problem persists then they'll probably send.

    It said, "what we have here is failure to communicate." What's that mean?

    • Hmmmm... (Score:4, Funny)

      by Seoulstriker (748895) on Tuesday April 26, 2005 @01:40PM (#12349802)
      Except the blackbox on a jet won't (unless I'm woefully uninformed more than usual) tell what you were doing in your own seat when the plane went down.

      Pleasuring yourself one last time before you die?
    • by SIGALRM (784769) * on Tuesday April 26, 2005 @01:43PM (#12349844) Journal
      cat /var/log/* | less and you'll find some interesting and even personal stuff. The accumulation of diagnostic data isn't the real concern, it's the transfer to external sources. I question the legality of sending document data if, for example, it contains protected heathcare information (as many of my documents do) it may violate HIPAA.
      • by ackthpt (218170) * on Tuesday April 26, 2005 @01:51PM (#12349956) Homepage Journal
        The accumulation of diagnostic data isn't the real concern, it's the transfer to external sources. I question the legality of sending document data if, for example, it contains protected heathcare information (as many of my documents do) it may violate HIPAA.

        Which is an excellent point. So where does this diagnostic data go?

        Suppose I was some insensitive clod sitting around a computer lab at school, experimenting with my wargame stuff, trying to figure out whether the US could invade India or China, in some far-fetched scenario and my process died... next thing you know someone sifting through debugging data in Bangalore or Shanghai gets the idea that the US has the Theo Roosevelt off the coast just for that actual and imminent purpose and it gets forwarded to all the necessary wrong parties ...

        Or maybe closer to the pocket book, didn't we just see something in the news about some outsourcing thing in India playing around with people's bank accounts in New York? Can't find the story right now...

    • by YrWrstNtmr (564987) on Tuesday April 26, 2005 @01:43PM (#12349850)
      Except the blackbox on a jet won't (unless I'm woefully uninformed more than usual) tell what you were doing in your own seat when the plane went down.

      It does, however, record exactly what the users (the flight crew) was doing at the time of the crash.

    • "occupant of 17A was eating peanuts, doing inflight magazine crossword and had dirty underwear"

      See.... Bill Cosby's mom *was* right.
    • It said, "what we have here is failure to communicate." What's that mean?

      Oh, man, how old are you ? :D It's from Guns'n'Roses' Civil War, "what we've got here is failure to communicate, some men you just can't reach" and so on. Great stuff. And no, I won't go into what it could possibly mean in there.

    • by abb3w (696381) on Tuesday April 26, 2005 @01:52PM (#12349966) Journal
      A blackbox on a jet is also designed to be able to survive an explosion... and resist tampering. Will the Windows blackbox file be able to say the same?

      Plus, Qui custodet ipsos custodies? Microsoft just created a new target for hackers, both writing to (for hiding their own tracks) and reading from (for extracting information when searching for personal user information.) Not insurmountable problems, but will M$ think to solve them before being bit on the backside?

      One step forward, two steps back...

  • by commodoresloat (172735) on Tuesday April 26, 2005 @01:37PM (#12349758)
    It will record your screams as your computer crashes.
  • by toofast (20646) * on Tuesday April 26, 2005 @01:37PM (#12349760) Homepage
    At first I was tempted to do like most: yell out that this was a privacy issue. Microsoft has no right knowing what software I'm using! But there are so many instances where I could claim that my privacy is invaded that I'm afraid I'm becoming more accepting of it.

    The latest of these instances occurred when I fired up Half Life 2 last night. "Logging on to Steam as ...". So Steam/Valve know each time I play half-life. Interesting stats for them.

    Every time I browse a web page, I'm telling everyone I use Firefox/1.0.3 on x64 Linux. Sure, I could hack my user agent string, but really. Most people don't, right? So now the slashdot editors know what I run, what my IP address is, ...

    I only boot to Windows to play games like Half-Life, and it bothers me that Microsoft would know about everything I'm running on that Windows box, but how else are they to fix issues if they don't know what I'm running and what I was doing when it crashed? When do we draw the line between normal computer use and invasion of privacy?

    • by slavemowgli (585321) * on Tuesday April 26, 2005 @01:48PM (#12349899) Homepage
      Personally, I'd draw the line at the point where "opt-in" becomes "opt-out". If the customer is being asked whether they want to send this information to M$, and told just what is being transmitted, then I don't see that much of a problem.

      However, it's important that you actually have to acknowledge this - so, for example, the default button (the one that has the focus) should be "No" rather than "Yes", so users actually have to make a conscious decision instead of just saying hitting return because that's what they always do when an error pops up.

      In other words, consent is required, but it also has to be informed consent. Someone who just says "Yes, do this" because they don't understand what's going on and what the implications are does not consent IMO.
    • I only boot to Windows to play games like Half-Life, and it bothers me that Microsoft would know about everything I'm running on that Windows box

      Well, there are some of us who run a load lot more than that, and no, not willing to let anyone trustworthy get their hands on anything. And no, I don't consider some MS developer browsing through crash data trustworthy.

      Anyways, I don't care what their boxes' color will be :P if there will be the option to disable the error reporting service, as it is there no

    • So they have to invade your privacy because they did not write a robust OS in the first place ? What an argument!

      --
      Go Debian!
    • But there are so many instances where I could claim that my privacy is invaded that I'm afraid I'm becoming more accepting of it.

      I find this quite disturbing. This seems to be the case with every aspect of our lives as of late and it is only going to get worse. The more often these sorts of things happen the more accustomed to it we become and the further such invasions of privacy can be expanded. Where does it all end?

      I'm really starting to worry about the future we're creating.
    • by MarkGriz (520778) on Tuesday April 26, 2005 @01:49PM (#12349934)
      "When do we draw the line between normal computer use and invasion of privacy?"

      When information is reported without your consent.
    • by smitty_one_each (243267) * on Tuesday April 26, 2005 @01:50PM (#12349947) Homepage Journal
      When do we draw the line between normal computer use and invasion of privacy?
      Well, you have a vendor, a market, and a consumer.
      When the vendor leverages the market information to make the decision for you that you should upgrade, I daresay you may feel invaded, while falling short of concluding whether or not Daddy Knows Best.
      Time will Tell.
    • "Logging on to Steam as ...".

      [...]

      Every time I browse a web page, I'm telling everyone I use Firefox/1.0.3 on x64 Linux.


      When you send your agent string, it's not tied to any personally identifiable data. When you log into steam, it is.

      Aggregate data doesn't invade your privacy. Given those two cases, the line seems pretty easy to draw.
    • Thing is, I have no issue with this IF it's solley used as agregate data. But as soon as they tie this with my IP-adress, then there is a huge privacy concern.

      But what I don't think is even neccessary is the contents of the document I'm working on: that has no place whatsoever being sent to MS. But, hell, let MS do that: it means instantly that governments and corporations will not adopt that version of windows for reasons of due dilligence and privacy. Hell, as someone posted before, hospitals etc will be
  • Privacy on the job (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bmw (115903) * on Tuesday April 26, 2005 @01:37PM (#12349761)
    The biggest issue I see with this, at least in the short term, is the possible use of this feature in the corporate setting.

    With businesses, however, IT managers typically set the policy. If they wanted total information, they could configure systems so that they'd know not only that a user was running Internet Explorer, for example, but also that he or she was watching a video from ESPN.com. Or, they might find out not only that a worker was running Instant Messenger but also that he or she was talking to a co-worker about getting a new job.

    This is a major invasion of privacy if you ask me. Of course, while at work you are using company resources so they really do get to say how and when they are used but I feel there is an important difference between monitoring your employee's resource usage and actually reading their emails and instant messages. You don't have to totally invade everyone's privacy to enforce your company policy of internet usage.

    But Sullivan pointed out that businesses can already install third-party software to monitor workers' computer usage and some do.

    While the above is most certainly true, having something like this built into Windows by default just makes it that much easier and thus inviting for a company to implement this sort of monitoring. I just can't wait for the day when all employees have a tracking system attached to them at all times and are reprimanded if they spend too much time going to the bathroom or chatting to a coworker. What great fun that is going to be!

    Another issue with this that is mentioned in the article is the fact that while you will be able to look through all the data being reported, most people will not have the knowledge to determine how much of it is sensitive.

    And consumers could have a tough time knowing just what information they were sending. Though they'll be able to see the contents of a document, they may not recognize the significance of the technical data--such as register settings--that's being sent.

    Not everything is totally obvious, such as personal emails or credit card numbers. Not to mention the fact that it will very likely be buried among a lot of other unintelligable data. Also, given the habit of most Windows users of just clicking 'OK' or 'YES' to anything and everything that pops up on their screen, I doubt many people will actually review the information being sent in the report.
    • by nmb3000 (741169) <nmb3000@that-google-mail-site.com> on Tuesday April 26, 2005 @01:49PM (#12349931) Homepage Journal
      The biggest issue I see with this, at least in the short term, is the possible use of this feature in the corporate setting.

      I'm sure this new "black box" will be controllable via Group Policy. The management and IT can decide if they want to use it and if not turn it off for everyone with a fewer than maybe 15-20 mouse clicks.

      I think this is probably a good step forward in trying to diagnose and prevent crashes for home users, as long as they don't start digging too deep. I don't really mind them knowing what processes were running, but sending them more than just a mini memory dump is too much. I'd also want to make sure they don't grab anything from memory that's supposed to be protected like passwords. Really, that's the only place I see issues, for example if I'm running some financing software which crashes. They grab a memory dump of the program which just happens to contain my SSN, birthday, credit card numbers, bank account numbers, etc. There is the possibility this information could be misused by an employee at Microsoft.

      Microsoft's Online Crash Analysis, the current version of this type of thing, has helped me a time or two. I've had Windows shoot a BSOD at me and after submitting the dump to MS, they readily told me which driver was the culprit and saved me perhaps an hour of troubleshooting.
    • by garcia (6573) * on Tuesday April 26, 2005 @01:53PM (#12349977) Homepage
      This is a major invasion of privacy if you ask me. Of course, while at work you are using company resources so they really do get to say how and when they are used but I feel there is an important difference between monitoring your employee's resource usage and actually reading their emails and instant messages. You don't have to totally invade everyone's privacy to enforce your company policy of internet usage.

      There is to be *NO* expectation of privacy while using computers at work. Don't think for a minute that your company won't pull out those records if necessary.

      In the mean time protect yourself. Run everything over encrypted tunnels, don't use your company's DNS servers, use a browser that allows you to save your cache to a safe location (USB hard drive, /dev/null, whatever), don't use work e-mail for anything other than work, don't use unencrypted webmail, don't assume that they aren't using keylogging, the list goes on...

      Unethical? Yeah. Legal? Definitely. Get over it and protect yourself as best you can. That means don't use your Internet connection at work for anything that would get you fired or could be used against you later.
      • by bmw (115903) * on Tuesday April 26, 2005 @02:01PM (#12350070)
        I don't have any expectation of privacy while at work except that which I create for myself. However, don't you think it is a bit unnecessary to actually read people's conversations and emails? Preventing abuse of company resources is one thing but actually reading the content of my emails is another. I could very well be talking about something that is work related but that I do not want certain people to read. Is that really so wrong? There are things you might have to say to another coworker that wouldn't get you fired but might cause trouble amongst other coworkers if they were read by the wrong person. I just think such total monitoring is excessive.
        • by nine-times (778537)
          However, don't you think it is a bit unnecessary to actually read people's conversations and emails? Preventing abuse of company resources is one thing but actually reading the content of my emails is another. I could very well be talking about something that is work related but that I do not want certain people to read. Is that really so wrong?

          I work in IT, and I always tell everyone, if you don't want me reading it, don't send it through company e-mail. I tell everyone up-front. Just don't.

          Now the rea

      • In the mean time protect yourself. Run everything over encrypted tunnels, don't use your company's DNS servers, use a browser that allows you to save your cache to a safe location (USB hard drive, /dev/null, whatever), don't use work e-mail for anything other than work, don't use unencrypted webmail, don't assume that they aren't using keylogging, the list goes on...

        Staying one step ahead of Big Brother is a poor substitute for privacy rights. What would stop a "black box" recorder from noting the fact

  • But (Score:3, Funny)

    by Neil Blender (555885) <neilblender@gmail.com> on Tuesday April 26, 2005 @01:38PM (#12349766)
    Will it survive after I kick the shit out my computer and then throw it off a cliff?
  • So... (Score:3, Funny)

    by Upaut (670171) * on Tuesday April 26, 2005 @01:38PM (#12349767) Homepage Journal
    'The tool will build on the existing Watson error-reporting tool in Windows but will provide Microsoft with much deeper information, including what programs were running at the time of the error and even the contents of documents that were being created.'

    So one mans spyware is another mans "helpful utility"?
    Right, now many of you will call me a Mac fanatic and mod me down, but seriously: Apple does not think of shit like this... I can just see the new virus' composed to utilize the flaws in this feature... Wait, I got it, they will use it to compete with Apple's Automator in Tiger:
    "Tired of having to go to the store to buy the latest Microsoft product? Now you will never have to again! The windows automator(tm) scans all your messages, emails, text documents, and computerized purchase orders for your credit card information, bank number, PIN numbers, etc; sends the data to the Microsoft data servers. Your information is then carefully protected, until the newest Microsoft product is ready for shipment. Then your accounts are drained, and everything you needed, even if you didn't know it, will be shipped to your door. Remember: Microsoft works...."


    And yes, I read the article, and the passage: " "Our stance on this is that the user is in control," Sullivan said. "In the consumer environment, you will be presented with a dialog that clearly gives you the choice whether to share the information and then also provides exactly what the detail is so you can parse character by character what's being sent."

    But it kinda hurts the joke... That and with Microsoft's record of error, would you really trust this?
  • by Tebriel (192168)
    Now I've got some MS techie looking through the contents of my text editor when an error log gets sent.

    Thanks guys!
  • I don't care... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Admiral Ackbar 8 (848624) on Tuesday April 26, 2005 @01:38PM (#12349775)
    as long as I can shut it off!
    • agreed. I think that's the issue that will make or break this concept. Then again, microsoft doesn't ask your permission to install XP sp2 anymore like they used to.. unless you don't want any more updates in the future..
      • I'm in favour of this tbh. Major upgrades like XPSP2 should be given a 'testing period' then forced upon everybody.

        No, I mean it. XPSP2 is the biggest leap forward in terms of basic Windows security for ages.
        • how so? the popup blocker? the firewall? (which works by EXE name???) The canary on the stack that is disabled by default? I fail to see any real benefits of SP2 other than allowing for long strings in the GPO Explain strings.. It also breaks a lot of things that aren't even related to the firewall. It's an attempt at fixing things, but I don't think it's worth it's weight in sand unless you're already technical enough to know how to configure your system with all of the features it provides (Which if yo
    • Re:I don't care... (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Trigun (685027)
      Oh sure, you can shut it off, for now.

      It should prompt you to turn it on only after the initial bootup and default to no. Aside from that, it should be mandated to be in the off condition until an administrator turns it on. Finally, it shold send it to a central server of the organizations choosing, and then the administrator can remove/alter the files, and send only corporate approved ones.
    • Re:I don't care... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by nchip (28683)
      Like how microsoft allows to shut off the "DRM songs imported to microsoft media player" settings?

      I used to think so too, until I met a girl who had imported her entire collection copyprotected. re-ripping cd's is not fun.

      You probably can switch it off (or use something less braindamaged to rip cd:s), but average users will never go to the advanced tab to switch copyprotecting off.. And a huge annoyance to notice after getting an iPod.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    If you are running some "non-approved" app, or driver, or whatever, MS will simply blame somebody else's code. And now they'll have a "black box" to prove it.

    Nice.
    • Uh...wouldn't the same pertain to any software company where a dependency of their app/OS isn't tested or approved? I work in a Linux shop and we do the same thing with log files. "Oh I see here you were running a non-standard library when you compiled. This was not tested in-house so try putting the original/latest back on and it will work.".
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 26, 2005 @01:38PM (#12349778)
    Why not make the Whole OS out of the black box stuff? Then nothing can damage it!
  • by clickster (669168) on Tuesday April 26, 2005 @01:40PM (#12349799)
    Wouldn't it be faster for them to sift through the logs of what was happening when the system was stable? I mean, dear God, imagine the size of the log files if they logged crashes.
  • As soon as you can no longer get support from M$ because you are not using the 'black box' crash creation application, they will start blaming Linux and Apache for the crashes... quickly creating a patch to prevent users from going to sites that are 'bad' for their Internet experience... thus protecting the world from all sorts of evil... spam, spim, worms, joy, information, and other evils like that
  • by twiddlingbits (707452) on Tuesday April 26, 2005 @01:41PM (#12349817)
    Talk about an invasion of your privacy and a HUGE hole to reveal corporate IP. It won't be long until someone invents an hack or virus to exploit this and capture all of what you are working on. I'm supposed to trust that MS won't use any of my info they captured to debug thier software?
    • by Phisbut (761268) on Tuesday April 26, 2005 @02:11PM (#12350194)
      Talk about an invasion of your privacy and a HUGE hole to reveal corporate IP.

      And it wouldn't even surprise me that, hidden somewhere in there, there's a license agreement that mentions that you give all the rights to the content you send to Microsoft somehow, or give them an unlimited royalty-free license... just like you do everytime you attach a file on Hotmail.

      From the Hotmail Service Agreement :

      by posting, uploading, inputting, providing or submitting your Submission you are granting Microsoft, its affiliated companies and necessary sublicensees permission to use your Submission in connection with the operation of their Internet businesses including, without limitation, the rights to: copy, distribute, transmit, publicly display, publicly perform, reproduce, edit, translate and reformat your Submission; and to publish your name in connection with your Submission.
    • by gmplague (412185) on Tuesday April 26, 2005 @02:29PM (#12350371) Homepage
      Have you heard about WMI? Installed and running by default since Win2k. You'd be amazed how much info you can get about a running system from a vbscript. Entire registry, map out the entire file system, info on every piece of hardware installed on a system, performance information (tcp packets sent/receieved, etc.), information about every component of every installed application. Not to mention that with the right privs you can execute any code you want. All this of course requires you to be an administrator on said machine, but if you combine it with the latest 0-day RPC exploit, then you've got a serious privacy concern.

      Oh, and said virus could also easily access any unencrypted file on your system, and dumping your pagefile or info currently in memory would be pretty trivial.

      Point: if you're worried about this enabling a virus to invade your privacy, then I'm sorry to burst your bubble but a virus can invade your privacy pretty easily already.
  • A plane crash is a bit more severe (and much less common), than a Windows crash.
  • Spybox? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by janek78 (861508)
    ...including what programs were running at the time of the error and even the contents of documents that were being created

    ...not only that a user was running Internet Explorer, for example, but also that he or she was watching a video from ESPN.com.

    So everytime my windows crashes, the stuff I worked on gets sent to MS. Everytime IE crashes, MS gets to know where I browse. How does this motivate them to make crashes less frequent? I don't like the idea at all. Another reason to leave MS products compl
  • by screwballicus (313964) on Tuesday April 26, 2005 @01:42PM (#12349829)
    That there's nothing compulsory about this, obviously. And furthermore, it appears that the system will be suited to provide for the customer's preservation of personal privacy:

    For consumers, the choice of whether to send the data, and how much information to share, will be up to the individual. Though the details are being finalized, Windows lead product manager Greg Sullivan said users will be prompted with a message indicating the information to be sent and giving them an option to alter it, such as removing the contents of the e-mail they were writing when the machine crashed. Also, such reporting will also be anonymous.

    The only concern, one might suppose, is for people who don't want this information accumulated should their computer later be searched by others (the law? An employer? A relative?). This is perhaps a legitimate concern, but hard to argue for, as a reason to cripple error reporting.
    • The only concern, one might suppose, is for people who don't want this information accumulated should their computer later be searched by others (the law? An employer? A relative?). This is perhaps a legitimate concern, but hard to argue for, as a reason to cripple error reporting.

      So you say official letters in/out company, banking data, confidential businness texts/data, developer's stuff i.e. program code, images, documents w/ nda, designs, e-mail texts, whatever else is data that nobody should ever hi
  • How Microsoft is the one who gets all this information. On other operating systems, it wouldn't be assumed that the operating system vendor for some reason needed bug and crash reports for every single application running on the system (Including. Y'know. The crash reports for software by competing companies.).

    But then, I guess, now that I think about it, on Windows these days, every single application either is written by Microsoft or mere support or widgets for Microsoft applications. I seem to remember
    • You, sir, are clueless. Everytime I force quit an app on my Panther box, I have the option to send the crash log to Apple. So no, they are not the only OS vendor out there who does this.
  • Strange press... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by shrapnull (780217) on Tuesday April 26, 2005 @01:45PM (#12349863)
    I think it's awfully interesting that Microsoft has begun announcing tiny feature announcements one by one in a nice string of succession throughout the month of April. And slashdot's just eating it up! They wouldn't be, say, announcing one feature plan at a time for the next 30 day to steal some of Apple's thunder while rolling out OS X Tiger would they? Not a friendly entity like Microsoft?!?!
    • Re:Strange press... (Score:3, Interesting)

      by DebianDog (472284)
      Hah! What would you do if you had 64 billion dollars and were going to be a year late with a competing product? Buy a few ZDnet's and start rolling out the vaporware I say!
  • ...now I can simply tool back the trojans I write so they just interface with this "feature" of windows.

    Thank you, Microsoft, for thinking of the little guys.

    Little korean guys. Who's job it is to write trojan and key loggers.
  • Clippy to the rescue [oldeenglish.org] (not work safe)
  • What a terrific quality control idea. Finally an innovation out of Redmond that has nothing to do with licensing, marketing, or increased profit margin.

    After all, there's no way they could have the "black box" record whether or not you have a duplicate license key. Hmmm....

    But we know that spying on users is not the purpose of the "black box". Right?

    Maybe they'll release the source for the "black box". Then all we have to do is recompile Windows and ....

    It's getting really difficult to believe what
  • is encrypted right? ...

    What's to stop people from just flooding it with nonsense data?

    I mean EVEN if it's "MS signed" or whatever... it's made by a program on your computer.

    I say people should reverse engineer the program and make a bot that spews nonsense into it.

    Tom
  • Because you know that in the commercial unix world it's common to send core files around, core files which can contain email messages, documents, you name it.

    So please, let's only whine when we need to.
    • And those core files are sent around by default if the user doesn't intervene?
    • Well...

      Yes, your unix/linux box can be configured to automatically send dump information to a server. This is a useful feature -- but needs to be explicitly enabled.

      If dump information from the Windows box can be sent to a central server that is controllable (eg. not an outside agency), then I am all for this feature -- plus I want to be able to disable this feature.

      Same as being able to forward logging information (again, under installation control on those Unix boxes).

      So, having this feature available
  • as if we needed anymore reasons to switch to Linux or Mac.
  • by dingbatdr (702519) on Tuesday April 26, 2005 @01:49PM (#12349923) Homepage
    I can just see it. Clippy will get replaced by a stern man's face watching you. The power switch to the monitor will no longer work...

  • This has been around for years on the IBM Mainframe. Its called the syslog.

    The Mainframe logs almost everything in MVS. Thats why Mainframes and AS/400's are so much more stable. They log everything and there has been 40 years to analyze it...

    If MS would just do decent logging, there would not be a need for a "Black Box"
  • If you agree to this ( EULA I'd assume ), then once the data leaves your computer, it then belongs to MS, right?

    So, then, if a government wanted to see what you were up to, they could cause a crash ( power outage ), wait for you to upload the data, then sopena ms for the details.

    Ya ya, I know, tinfoil hat and all that. However, if that tool did exist, that's what would happen. Were I a cop, that's what I'd do.
  • Most people worry that Blackbox software is a privacy concern. Coming from Microsoft, I believe it would be, but in general, I feel very strongly about black box software. Some black box software can go as far as trace the executable C or C++ code that is running and provide a step by step look at what the code was doing when, say, an error occured. When aprogrammer steps through it, they easily see the problem and can correct it. For support reps like me this is huge in correcting problems.

    However, no
  • Someone will then run a program that infects the black box, making it invulnerable to all the virus/spyware scanners out there... 8(

    --Mike--

  • This scenario is a bit far out, but it seems possible that this could lead to a potential violation of the GPL (or many other sofware licenses).

    If I have licensed code open in my text editor when my computer crashes, could some microsoft techie see it? What about the clauses in various licenses that only permit the transmittal of code via tightly controlled methods?

    Now I don't think that MS had any nefarious design in mind when they though of this, but is this a rational to fear the sticky legal issues th
  • Example Log:

    2012-03-14 @ 17:20: Windows Media Player crashed trying to load "Amazing Asses 70: The Return of the Brazilian Butts"

    2012-03-16 @ 18:11: Windows Media Player crashed trying to load "The Adventures of Buttman".

    Sounds like invasion of privacy to me. Not that I'm a porn addict or anything.

    *runs out of thread fast*
  • ...embracing stupid people and pissing off smart people since 1975.
  • This is not really anything too revolutionary. When an application dies in OS X the Crash Reporter application gives the user the option of mailing the crash report and debug info to Apple. Crash Reporter does not, as far as I am aware, include the contents of any files being edited. I usually paste in any file snippets that I think might be relevant (like wacky javascripts when Safari dies).

    If MS makes including files the default, however, there will be serious legal and privacy concerns. Imagine medi

  • So what happens when the latest e-mail worm redirects the feedback URL in your hosts file, and then proceeds to crash the computer, sending extremely detailed diagnostic information back to some random address? Is MS going to somehow ensure this "black box" information doesn't fall into the wrong hands?
  • While it is true that companies now use third party applications to monitor their employees, there is a difference between using company resources and your own resources. The article doesn't mention if this functionality can ever be removed. It does mentioned that the consumer can turn it off in a case by case basis. Personally, many people would find it intrusive.

    Where this is dangerous is that it can be used to secretly collect data. For example, Windows Media Player 10 always contacts the internet

  • by ankhcraft (811009) on Tuesday April 26, 2005 @02:00PM (#12350062) Homepage
    Or is it already?

    If sending your computer's configuration to Microsoft in the background was found to be illegal by the courts back in the Win95 days...

    Wouldn't sending configuration information PLUS document contents be considered illegal today?

    I mean, come on now, this couldn't possibly be happening, and out in the open to boot?

  • by ashitaka (27544) on Tuesday April 26, 2005 @03:20PM (#12350902) Homepage
    Canada's Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act [privcom.gc.ca] (PIPEDA) expressely forbids the external transmission of client data, which would no doubt include the documents on our firm's computers, without their consent.

    I can't see too many of our clients agreeing to let the confidential contents of their documents be sent to Microsft to figure out why our PCs crashed.
  • by pg110404 (836120) on Tuesday April 26, 2005 @03:44PM (#12351116)
    I wonder if it will survive the crash.

    If this tool is really to catch errant drivers, it's usually pretty serious for the OS to throw up its hands.

    I wonder if the OS will maintain enough smarts to flush the BSOD information and other stuff to disk properly.

    For that matter, if it's not a critical driver (e.g. a sound card driver or network card driver, etc), that goes wonky, why BSOD completely? Why can't the OS log a critical message stating 'This driver encountered an unrecoverable error and has been disabled'. Please close what you were doing and reboot *NOW*'.
  • by ebresie (123014) on Tuesday April 26, 2005 @05:50PM (#12352336) Homepage Journal
    So basically what they are saying, is they are going to have a core-dump like functionality as is found in UNIX, right?

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