Ah, it’s been awhile since I had a SecuROM post. Speaking of that, what’s the stance on the lawsuit? Sad to say it’s probably going to take a long time before it gets anywhere. Shame, as I would like to see them win the case so The Sims 3 won’t include it….But back to the point.

I came across the following article on the past history of Sony and it’s approach to DRM. So far, not a good one:

Most notably, almost three years ago, Windows expert and security researcher Mark Russinovich of Sysinternals discovered that a Sony BMG disc he had played on his computer had secretly installed a rootkit (a program designed to seize control of an operating system) deep inside the kernel of his Windows machine, without his consent, knowledge, or operation.

Russinovich researched the rootkit and realized that it not only tampered with Windows’ normal handling of compact discs, it made any Windows system on which it was installed more vulnerable to viruses.

Russinovich published his findings, and within weeks, a huge scandal and media firestorm was born – fueled in part by Sony itself.

At first, Sony executives tried to simply dismiss the matter, which led to an even bigger public relations disaster. The company then offered a utility to remove the rootkit, but the software utility was defective:

The uninstaller Sony initially provided removed the rootkit, but in turn installed a dial-home program that posed an even greater security risk.

Sony eventually provided an actual uninstaller that removed all of Sony’s DRM program from the user’s computer.

Sony soon found itself slammed with multiple lawsuits, including a class action suit filed by the Electronic Frontier Foundation and another suit filed by Attorney General Greg Abbott on behalf of the people of Texas.

The Federal Trade Commission also investigated the scandal and announced in January of 2007 that Sony had agreed to settle charges that it violated federal law.

Several months after the FTC settlement was announced, several irate Sony customers discovered that selected DVDs released by Sony Pictures would not not play – even in Sony DVD players! – because of Sony’s deployment of a secondary copy prevention scheme called ARccOS. The company was forced to recall a number of DVDs and address the compatability problems.

Weeks later, another malware problem cropped up – this time relating to hardware manufactured by Sony’s electronics division.

Security specialists are warning that Sony’s MicroVault USB, which is a biometric USB storage device, cloaks driver software in a Windows directory that could be used by malware to avoid detection from security applications.

Because Sony has a long and disturbing history of duping, spying on, and even suing their own customers neither it nor EA can be trusted when they say SecuROM is harmless – as an EA spokesperson tried to tell the Washington Post:

We would never put any spyware on anyone’s computers. That’s not going to happen.

Wanna bet? Does EA think their customers are stupid? Ignorant of EA’s partner Sony’s history of deceit and lawbreaking?

I was familiar with the CD music incident, but the other two are new to me.  So, after reading these, is there anybody that still doesn’t seem to have an issue with SecuROM being on your computer?  I mean…they pulled this stunt three times…

Even if they state “We would never put any spyware on anyone’s computers. That’s not going to happen.” then how are we sure to trust them?  Example, if you needed to pay your bills and I gave you $100 for it and you blow it on a strip club, I could probably forgive the incident for the first time (as I’m usually a nice guy).  But the second and even THIRD time this happens, how am I suppose to take your word and trust you again?

I’m all for stoping pirates and the downloading of illegal games, but including this software is not the way to go!

Northwest Progressive Institute Advocate – Gaming community turning against Electronic Arts over bundled DRM, malware