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Lawyer accuses Microsoft of anti-piracy measures
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A Beijing lawyer has formally suggested China's Ministry of Public Security investigate and stop Microsoft's latest measures aiming to counter software piracy.

The move came after a so-called "Black Screen" scheme that was unilaterally imposed by Microsoft on early Tuesday upon all Microsoft users on the Chinese mainland.

Dong Zhengwei, a senior lawyer from the Beijing-based Zhongyin Law Office, warned that Microsoft's action will infringe users' rights of privacy and threaten internet security in China, the Beijing Morning Post reports.

The US-based IT giant, Microsoft says on its website that a gadget anti-piracy software will be installed on users' computers through the update proceedings to verify the Windows XP system and Office applications.

With that, desktops of user machines installed with unlicensed Windows XPs will automatically turn black every 60 minutes. In computers running pirated Office applications, a frame will also pop up when the program launched apprises users possible fake software.

It's the first time the company has issued interferential code for unlicensed office applications, the report said.

Microsoft said their action didn't target Chinese users alone and that it planned to extend the code to all Windows XP and Office users in one and a half months.

Dong Zhengwei further noted that running the code may result in abnormal operation of computers and that users would face potential information leakage which is banned by law.

Chinese laws stipulate that a party will be held guilty of illegal intrusion of information if it disrupts the normal functioning of users' computers by altering operating systems.

Dong says users were granted proprietorship of their computers and its operating systems after purchase of the machines. He adds it's illegal for Microsoft to plant the inimical software in computers without the users' permission.

The move has triggered heated debate online and spurred some Chinese netizens to turn off automatic updates of Windows.

Microsoft has recently tightened its anti-piracy efforts in China. In August, Chinese police cracked down on a famous domestic website offering edited Windows XP systems, after being tipped off by Microsoft.

Many Chinese computer users use pirated versions of Microsoft products due to their low prices. Some of them said they would turn to domestically-developed replacements after Microsoft's new policy takes effect.

(CRIENGLISH.com October 22, 2008)

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