Yes, Microsoft is still more evil than Apple
I had just begun to think that Apple had usurped the title of Evil Empire from Microsoft when I heard about Microsoft’s patent application for a system designed “to regulate the presentation of content.” Just another digital rights management system you might think. Well, not quite.
Filed a year ago but only just now coming to media attention, this is spyware of a new magnitude. While you watch the screen, the screen watches you. And in some detail. It counts how many viewers are present. If there are more viewers than are licensed to view, it takes ‘remedial action’. What this is remains to be seen. It could simply prevent any further showing of the content – although it could equally report the matter to the content police. It could pop up a message on the screen. “Will two of you please leave the room. Close the door behind you – and don’t slam it!”
It also estimates the age of the viewers. Youngsters can be prevented from viewing adult material. Presumably, Muslims could be prevented from watching the Innocence of Muslims (or anything similar); and the Amish from watching anything (although the beards could lead to confusion between the two).
Should we worry? Yes, that any company could even dream that such a thing is acceptable is a deep concern. Expect it in a few years time, because Hollywood will love it, and governments love Hollywood’s cash-strewn lobbying.