Windows 7 knows where you are (Big Brother is watching you) - Linux

This is a discussion on Windows 7 knows where you are (Big Brother is watching you) - Linux ; November 7, 2008 4:00 AM PST Windows 7 knows where you are Posted by Ina Fried LOS ANGELES--Windows 7 has a new programming interface designed to make it a whole lot easier for software to figure out where in the ...

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  1. Windows 7 knows where you are (Big Brother is watching you)

    November 7, 2008 4:00 AM PST
    Windows 7 knows where you are
    Posted by Ina Fried

    LOS ANGELES--Windows 7 has a new programming interface designed to
    make it a whole lot easier for software to figure out where in the
    world a PC and its user are located.

    That should make it easier for a whole new range of location-based
    services from finding nearby friends to LoJack-like PC tracking
    programs. Even search could be a whole lot better if the search engine
    knew where you were. Indeed, searchers often enter their city with
    their location to try and get just that benefit.

    "There's so many times you have to enter in where you are at," said
    Microsoft program manager Alec Berntson.

    At the same time, broader use of location-based services could also
    open up a range of privacy concerns.

    Those issues--and how to handle them--was the subject of a discussion
    this week at the Windows Hardware Engineering Conference (WinHEC)
    here.

    Microsoft does give a range of control options, such as turning off
    location services by default, as well as the ability to limit such
    services only to specific users or only to applications, as opposed to
    services that run in the background. However, the operating system
    doesn't allow users the option of letting only certain applications
    access your location. So, for example, if you turn it on for a mapping
    program, any other Windows application running could also access that
    information.

    The reason, Microsoft officials say, is that Windows doesn't have a
    reliable means of determining that an application is what it says it
    is, so any attempt to limit the location to a specific application
    would be easily spoofable, Berntson said during the WinHEC discussion.

    "We only promise the control that we can realistically give to them,
    rather than trying to promise more than we can deliver," Berntson
    said.

    That said, application-based control, "would be great to have and it
    is certainly on our Christmas list for future stuff," he said.

    But, not everyone felt that Windows 7 was doing all it could on the
    privacy front. One attendee suggested, for example, that Microsoft at
    least notify users when an application requests location information.

    Although technically possible, Berntson said that's not currently on
    Microsoft's roadmap for Windows 7.

    In fairness, location-based services are actually more secure in
    Windows 7 than in the past. That's because in past versions of
    Windows, there was really no way to reliably turn off location
    information.

    "The old way of doing it--there was no warning, there was no switch,
    there was nothing," said Microsoft lead product manager Daniel Polivy.
    That said, it was so cumbersome that few people have enabled such
    location-based information or built services on top of them.

    A pair of APIs
    So just what is it that Microsoft is doing in Windows 7?

    Well, at a low level, Microsoft has a new application programming
    interface (API) for sensors and a second API for location. It uses any
    of a number of things to actually get the location, depending on
    what's available. Obviously there's GPS, but it also supports Wi-Fi
    and cellular triangulation. At a minimum. Users can type in their
    location if they really want location-based services and don't have
    any of those other sensors.

    Applications can then use that longitude and latitude information to
    provide any number of services to the customer, of which mapping is
    only the tip of the iceberg. Most of those applications will be up to
    developers, though. The only location-based service in the current
    Windows 7 OS itself is the fact that the weather gadget will use your
    location, assuming you have such services available and turned on.

    Masafumi Kuboyama, a senior manager in Sony's Vaio PC unit in Japan,
    said he wants to know what's going on in his system and would
    appreciate knowing what the location-based services were up to. Most
    computer users, though, don't want to be bothered, he said.

    "My relatives never understand what's going on in a PC," he said.
    "Everybody says, 'Please do (it) automatically.'"

    He also said he's interested in the possibilities opened up by
    location-based services. "I'm looking forward to seeing more
    convenient applications for the Netbook."

    Tim Zinsky, a software architect at Hewlett-Packard, said he wasn't
    all that disappointed that Microsoft isn't providing all the pieces
    with its location API.

    Zinsky, who stressed he was speaking for himself and not HP, said he
    isn't convinced that there isn't a way to track which applications are
    using the location information.

    "They are underestimating the capability there," he said. "I think
    they could do it."

    But that's OK with him. "I don't want it all to come from Microsoft,"
    he said. "If they can't do it, maybe somebody else or another company
    can do it."

  2. Re: Windows 7 knows where you are (Big Brother is watching you)



    You do realise Linux apps do this too don't you?


    Darth Chaos writes:

    > November 7, 2008 4:00 AM PST
    > Windows 7 knows where you are
    > Posted by Ina Fried
    >
    > LOS ANGELES--Windows 7 has a new programming interface designed to
    > make it a whole lot easier for software to figure out where in the
    > world a PC and its user are located.
    >
    > That should make it easier for a whole new range of location-based
    > services from finding nearby friends to LoJack-like PC tracking
    > programs. Even search could be a whole lot better if the search engine
    > knew where you were. Indeed, searchers often enter their city with
    > their location to try and get just that benefit.
    >
    > "There's so many times you have to enter in where you are at," said
    > Microsoft program manager Alec Berntson.
    >
    > At the same time, broader use of location-based services could also
    > open up a range of privacy concerns.
    >
    > Those issues--and how to handle them--was the subject of a discussion
    > this week at the Windows Hardware Engineering Conference (WinHEC)
    > here.
    >
    > Microsoft does give a range of control options, such as turning off
    > location services by default, as well as the ability to limit such
    > services only to specific users or only to applications, as opposed to
    > services that run in the background. However, the operating system
    > doesn't allow users the option of letting only certain applications
    > access your location. So, for example, if you turn it on for a mapping
    > program, any other Windows application running could also access that
    > information.
    >
    > The reason, Microsoft officials say, is that Windows doesn't have a
    > reliable means of determining that an application is what it says it
    > is, so any attempt to limit the location to a specific application
    > would be easily spoofable, Berntson said during the WinHEC discussion.
    >
    > "We only promise the control that we can realistically give to them,
    > rather than trying to promise more than we can deliver," Berntson
    > said.
    >
    > That said, application-based control, "would be great to have and it
    > is certainly on our Christmas list for future stuff," he said.
    >
    > But, not everyone felt that Windows 7 was doing all it could on the
    > privacy front. One attendee suggested, for example, that Microsoft at
    > least notify users when an application requests location information.
    >
    > Although technically possible, Berntson said that's not currently on
    > Microsoft's roadmap for Windows 7.
    >
    > In fairness, location-based services are actually more secure in
    > Windows 7 than in the past. That's because in past versions of
    > Windows, there was really no way to reliably turn off location
    > information.
    >
    > "The old way of doing it--there was no warning, there was no switch,
    > there was nothing," said Microsoft lead product manager Daniel Polivy.
    > That said, it was so cumbersome that few people have enabled such
    > location-based information or built services on top of them.
    >
    > A pair of APIs
    > So just what is it that Microsoft is doing in Windows 7?
    >
    > Well, at a low level, Microsoft has a new application programming
    > interface (API) for sensors and a second API for location. It uses any
    > of a number of things to actually get the location, depending on
    > what's available. Obviously there's GPS, but it also supports Wi-Fi
    > and cellular triangulation. At a minimum. Users can type in their
    > location if they really want location-based services and don't have
    > any of those other sensors.
    >
    > Applications can then use that longitude and latitude information to
    > provide any number of services to the customer, of which mapping is
    > only the tip of the iceberg. Most of those applications will be up to
    > developers, though. The only location-based service in the current
    > Windows 7 OS itself is the fact that the weather gadget will use your
    > location, assuming you have such services available and turned on.
    >
    > Masafumi Kuboyama, a senior manager in Sony's Vaio PC unit in Japan,
    > said he wants to know what's going on in his system and would
    > appreciate knowing what the location-based services were up to. Most
    > computer users, though, don't want to be bothered, he said.
    >
    > "My relatives never understand what's going on in a PC," he said.
    > "Everybody says, 'Please do (it) automatically.'"
    >
    > He also said he's interested in the possibilities opened up by
    > location-based services. "I'm looking forward to seeing more
    > convenient applications for the Netbook."
    >
    > Tim Zinsky, a software architect at Hewlett-Packard, said he wasn't
    > all that disappointed that Microsoft isn't providing all the pieces
    > with its location API.
    >
    > Zinsky, who stressed he was speaking for himself and not HP, said he
    > isn't convinced that there isn't a way to track which applications are
    > using the location information.
    >
    > "They are underestimating the capability there," he said. "I think
    > they could do it."
    >
    > But that's OK with him. "I don't want it all to come from Microsoft,"
    > he said. "If they can't do it, maybe somebody else or another company
    > can do it."


  3. Re: Windows 7 knows where you are (Big Brother is watching you)

    After takin' a swig o' grog, Darth Chaos belched out
    this bit o' wisdom:

    > November 7, 2008 4:00 AM PST
    > Windows 7 knows where you are
    > Posted by Ina Fried
    >
    > LOS ANGELES--Windows 7 has a new programming interface designed to
    > make it a whole lot easier for software to figure out where in the
    > world a PC and its user are located.


    URL: http://news.cnet.com/8301-10805_3-10084345-75.html

    --
    I can relate to that.

  4. Re: Windows 7 knows where you are (Big Brother is watching you)

    -----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----
    Hash: SHA1

    ____/ Chris Ahlstrom on Sunday 09 November 2008 19:08 : \____

    > After takin' a swig o' grog, Darth Chaos belched out
    > this bit o' wisdom:
    >
    >> November 7, 2008 4:00 AM PST
    >> Windows 7 knows where you are
    >> Posted by Ina Fried
    >>
    >> LOS ANGELES--Windows 7 has a new programming interface designed to
    >> make it a whole lot easier for software to figure out where in the
    >> world a PC and its user are located.

    >
    > URL: http://news.cnet.com/8301-10805_3-10084345-75.html


    You realise that Microsoft won't share this data with the United States
    government, right?

    Oh, wait. Actually it did in the past. US govt. turns blind eye to abusive
    monopolist in exchange for intell~1.

    In Soviet Russia, home phones user.

    - --
    ~~ Best of wishes

    everytime you say things like this i just think of that cult of people
    who send around .doc files. i dont want to communicate with people who
    talk in .doc format, but they do not wish to use something else, so
    they discredit those without word. --Ed, c.o.l.a.
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    iEYEARECAAYFAkkXR/oACgkQU4xAY3RXLo6bmQCeNp28Rq7VkaMBBbbb4ydIYj7L
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