Microsoft patents seriously bad adware

July 18, 2007 | 11:13

Tags: #advertising #adware #bad #patent #spyware #vista #windows

Companies: #microsoft

Arstechnica and Informationweek are reporting about an adware patent Microsoft has just filed that could make your future Windows browsing experience a whole lot worse. Apparently Microsoft is planning an "advertising framework" that will use "context data" from your computer in order to show you adverts and "apportion and credit advertising revenue" to advertising suppliers in real time.

So, not only does it intend to use your computer resources and Internet connection to drive its advertising, but it'll also sniff your hard drive for and ship it out to someone else who bought "the right" to see it. All your bits are belong to Microsoft and its country club buddies? Possibly so in the near future.

It could possibly exist as part of the users computer, "whether it's part of the OS, an application or integrated within applications." This means it might not just come in a future version of Windows, it could come in Office, Flight Sim, Solitaire or anything else for that matter. Perhaps your Xbox 360 and Windows Mobile phone as well?

The article states, "Applications, tools, or utilities may use an application program interface to report context data tags such as key words or other information that may be used to target advertisements," says the filing. "The advertising framework may host several components for receiving and processing the context data, refining the data, requesting advertisements from an advertising supplier, for receiving and forwarding advertisements to a display client for presentation, and for providing data back to the advertising supplier."

So, now we have key logging thrown into the mix and not once has there been "anonymous" included in the text. It will apparently keep an eye on everything your PC does, including the state its in, what's connected to it and what you do on it. Yes, Redmond will know exactly where your secret porn stash is hidden and every time you check it; hitting ctrl+F4 might be a quickly trained art by now but try explaining those contextual adverts to other people!

Two applications were filed last year about this, the first on July 5th which detailed the method of acquiring the data and the second on July 13th wrote about displaying the data.

There's no word that these will actually be put into practice, after all, can you imagine the backlash and potential security risks? Perhaps Microsoft is going to offer a free version of Windows that is kept up by ad revenue alone? Or perhaps that new middle manager with the horns, hooves, tail and dominating evil laugh might be looking for a promotion sooner than we think?

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