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University Student Sues Microsoft for Invasion of Privacy
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Peking University student Lu Feng believes that Microsoft's newly launched "WGA Notification" program violates his safety of personal information and his privacy. He decided to bring both Microsoft Corporation and Microsoft (China) Co. Ltd. before the court, and recently the First Intermediate People's Court of Beijing accepted this case.

Lu Feng's indictment stated that he installed the "WGA Notification" program according to the prompts of the automatic update of the Windows XP system. Later he found that this is a program to verify whether the Windows XP installed in the computer of the plaintiff is genuine software or not. The defendant, Microsoft, could gather the computer information and personal information of the plaintiff through executing this program on a regular basis and sending it back to Microsoft Corporation online. This method could not only verify whether the users' software is original or not but also obtain all kinds of information from the users.

Lu Feng thought that this program posed a great threat to the information safety of his computer and his privacy and prevented users from exercising their property rights toward their computers. Moreover, in the process of installing the program, Microsoft Corporation excluded his legal rights through a formal contract and failed in their duty to inform him, therefore impinging upon the legal rights and interests enjoyed by the consumers and end users.

Lu Feng requested the court to order the defendant to delete the computer information and the personal information of the plaintiff, provide an unload tool to delete the "WGA Notification" program installed in the defendant's computer, make an apology in a national newspaper, and pay 1,350 yuan (US$88.28) in compensation for losses.

Yesterday, regarding this case, the public manager of Microsoft Li Kejia sent a message to the reporter asserting that, "We've already received the notice of this case from the court. And we'll not give any comments to the case at present in accordance with the policies of the company."

This past March, Microsoft launched its "WGA Notification" for its Windows XP. Microsoft claimed that as a verification tool, "WGA Notification" could help users to recognize whether their Windows software in operation is original or not and help the users with non-original software to take appropriate actions to safeguard their computer system against the dangers and risks brought about by the counterfeit software.

( by Zhang Ming'ai, September 12, 2007)

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