Sony Music CDs Under Fire from Privacy Advocates

by wim

Sony BMG’s release of a software patch for a controversial anti-piracy program has failed to stem criticism.

In an entry posted to his SysInternals blog on 31 October Mr Russinovich wrote about his discovery of the “cloaked” files Sony BMG was using to stop people making illegal copies of a CD by country rock group Van Zant.

The files were hidden deep inside the Windows system using techniques more often used by skilled virus writers said Mr Russinovich, a claim backed up by Finnish security firm F-Secure which performed a separate analysis on the proprietary player. F-Secure said it feared that virus writers would use the cloaking system to hide their own creations making them impossible to find.

In response Sony BMG made a patch available that revealed the “cloaked” files and stopped the proprietary media player loading. However Mr Russinovich has subjected the patch to further analysis and did not like what he found. Writing in his blog, the Windows programming expert said that the patch left intact the hidden files and used a potentially unsafe method to stop the player loading.

The EULA (end user license agreement) also makes no reference to any ‘phone home’ behavior, and Sony executives are claiming that the software never contacts Sony and that no information is communicated that could track user behavior. This however seems a fals claim as you can read here

We currently don’t have info if this copy-protection was also used in Belgium by Sony/BMG

  • November 8,2005

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