Mark Russinovich, the technology blogger who first outed Sony BMG for its use of spyware/adware technology to control digital rights on some music CDs it sells, has more:
Sony: You don't reeaaaally want to uninstall, do you? (see the hundreds of comments by readers)
Sony's Rootkit: First 4 Internet responds (more than 100 comments)
and his original post,
Sony, Rootkits, and Digital Rights Management Gone Too Far (over 500 comments)
Russinovich outlines in detail the original problem (see my posting Music Companies Deserve to Die a Quick Death), then dissects the mega-company's grudging reaction to the outrage. The latest problem is an uninstall process for the invasive code. It's hard to find, hard to use, and seems almost designed to not work properly. He says:
"While I’ve answered the question of how the uninstaller knows if the uninstall link is for your computer, I can’t definitively answer questions like:
- Why isn’t Sony publicizing the uninstall link on their site in any way?
- Why do you have to tell Sony twice that you want to uninstall?
- Why is the email with the uninstall link labeled confidential?
- Why does Sony generate a unique uninstall link for each computer?
"Sony has left us to speculate, but under the circumstances the answer to all these questions seems obvious: Sony doesn’t want customers to know that there’s DRM software installed on their computers and doesn’t want them to uninstall it if they somehow discover it. Without exaggeration I can say that I’ve analyzed virulent forms of spyware/adware that provide more straightforward means of uninstall."
This pathetic tale of passive-aggressive public relations and customer relations by a major consumer products company shows what happens when a company applies aggressive tactics at all the wrong times. Instead of apologizing for its stupid mistake and making it easy for anyone to get rid of the code that some Sony CDs install on a customer's computer, the company goes through the motions of offering a solution, while making it as difficult and complex as possible.
By exposing their customers to potential computer hack attacks, Sony has done the equivalent of defecating on its customers' living room rugs. But unlike the vacuum cleaner sales person who makes a mess, then cleans it up to prove the product's usefulness, Sony just leaves the steaming pile of crap for the customer to clean up.