back to article Směrť Špionam! BAN Windows 10, it SPIES too much, exclaim Russians

Russian lawyers have filed a complaint calling for an outright ban – or at least tight restrictions – over the sale of Windows 10 in Russia. The complaint to the Russian Prosecutor General’s Office argues that Windows 10 collects user information in a way that violates Russian laws. Moscow-based Bubnov and Partners contended …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Smert' Shpionam

    I think

    1. Turtle

      Re: Death To Spies!

      "'Smert' Shpionam 'I think"

      You are correct. I am not sure what the inverted caret over the "e" signifies but I have never seen it used to transliterate Russian. An unadorned "e" would have been both sufficient and correct.

      The inverted caret over the second "s" however is commonly used to denote an "sh" but not commonly used in transliterating Russian; I have mostly seen it used in Eastern European Slavic languages written in the Latin alphabet where the letter with caret is native to the language. In other words, it gets the correct sound across, but in this case it's an eccentric and little-used way of conveying it.

      The first word, "Smert'", (death) is one of those Russian words that can be written using characters from the Latin alphabet solely, like so: CMEPTb.

      1. Uncle Slacky Silver badge

        Re: Death To Spies!

        It's also alluded to in the acronym for one of James Bond's enemies, SMERSH.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Death To Spies!

        I think the inverted caret stuff is used in some academic library catalogues. If you want a reversible transcription scheme that works not just for Russian but for all languages written in Cyrillics, and their various dialects and historical forms...

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    And in the land of lawyers

    We are waiting for Microsoft to pay enough to politicians for someone to declare it is HIPAA compliant to have unknown amounts of patient data sent to an unknown address for an unknown purpose.

    And for devices to be FDA approved that can update their OS without us having chance to test the updates work with our software.

  3. Nick Kew
    Big Brother

    So what's Snowden doing for a living?

    Spotted doing consultancy for Bubnov and/or the Russian civil service?

  4. Frank Bitterlich
    Coat

    In Russia, ....

    In America, you download operating system.

    In Russia, operating system uploads you.

    (Yeeees, I know, that one was predictable.)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Big Brother

      Re: In Russia, ....

      Um... Haven't you got that the wᴙong way ᴙound?

  5. Tom Chiverton 1 Silver badge

    Isn't this just that the Russians require their user data to be stored in their country (so it's accessible via their police) ? If so, won't MS just do a Blackberry and give in, and provide local servers ?

    Won't that be fun* when you take a non-Russian laptop to Russia...

  6. snowweb

    CAN you REALLY turn off those features?

    They say you can turn of the offending "features", but how do we know that doing that, does actually turn of those items? I wouldn't mind betting, that those settings are just there for eye candy and they actually have no effect.

    I think someone needs to set up a Windows 10 machine, turn off those settings and then analyse every packet sent, to identify it's content, purpose and destination.

    1. Alister

      Re: CAN you REALLY turn off those features?

      Wireshark is your friend...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: CAN you REALLY turn off those features?

        Wireshark is your friend...

        Not when it's encrypted, and the results are transmitted in burst mode or encapsulated in other traffic (to name but a few camouflage techniques used in high grade bugging kit). There are many ways to cloak traffic.

        It's not that I deem MS itself capable of writing decent enough code for that to work, but there is plenty of help for the willing. In addition, they can push this in or out with rolling upgrades, so every patch could change the signature of the traffic.

        Best of all (from MS/NSA perspective), you legalised this with the EULA. No more pesky lawsuits...

    2. Andy Non Silver badge

      Re: CAN you REALLY turn off those features?

      Even if they are really turned off, does it stop Windows 10 from logging all that information locally on the machine anyway; ready to be sent if you ever change your mind or Microsoft (or law-enforcement or the NSA) decides they'll have the data anyway.

      Some years ago (forgot which version of Windows) I had the featured disabled to keep track of my recently opened documents/files. One day I read somewhere that Windows still recorded this information, it just wasn't showing it. A quick change of settings and low and behold it revealed the list of my most "recently" access files - running into several hundreds of them!

      1. Shades

        Re: CAN you REALLY turn off those features?

        Win95 that started I think. You could turn "off" the recent docs feature in the start menu but if you navigated to your user folder they were still there, being logged anyway.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: CAN you REALLY turn off those features?

        All the data logging is built in to the OS.

        The Data collection is 'always' switched on.

        All you are doing switching flags on/off is opening/closing the tap (Faucet) on your data.

        It is the same with all the optional stuff in Windows, the data collection is running and saving logs etc 'always'.

        In Win 7 the 'Customer Experience Improvement Program' is the same.

        You may have switched it off but it still runs and just does not send anything to MS, you hope.

        'All your Data are belong to us' ...........(Microsoft Corporation)

        :)

    3. VinceH

      Re: CAN you REALLY turn off those features?

      "I think someone needs to set up a Windows 10 machine, turn off those settings and then analyse every packet sent, to identify it's content, purpose and destination."

      According to Ars Technica (final paragraph):

      "Finally, it's worth pointing out that these are just the visible config flags; without some packet-level analysis, it's hard to say exactly what data is being sent back to Microsoft, and by which service. As one commenter pointed out, even after they disabled Cortana and turned off a bunch of privacy-related settings, the search box still seemed to be sending keystroke data back to Microsoft."

    4. Joe User
      Black Helicopters

      Re: CAN you REALLY turn off those features?

      You can turn them off, but whether Windows 10 will actually abide by your wishes is a different issue entirely....

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Big Brother

      Re: CAN you REALLY turn off those features?

      A tenner on those "settings" turning off transmission of SIGINT but not local gathering... W10 then simply awaiting the appropriate unidentified yet compulsory "patch(s)" (command(s)) to "accidentally" re-enable those "settings" and dump that gathered data en masse to the receiving agencies before the targets (you) have a chance to notice WTF is going on.

      1. Robert Helpmann??
        Childcatcher

        Re: CAN you REALLY turn off those features?

        The hint would be that the default is to gather everything it can and send it on home (Passwords? Really??) I am most interested to see how businesses and government agencies deal with this particular bit of data-gathering. Oh, wait... that's exactly what is going on here.

  7. Dave 15 Silver badge

    They are probably right

    Pretending that hiding a few settings in the back of beyond, probably badly labelled that the user 'could' change to stop the spying means it doesn't spy is ludicrous.

    MS and many other providers already share your data. Google does as well... seems a favourite hobby of US companies (but not limited to them).

    My Android device spent £15 in about 48 hours uploading Chirst only knows what to the server... without once asking me... it is a good job I hadn't put any data on the device.

    That the Russians and Chinese spy on their folk does NOT make it more acceptable that the UK spies on its people or the US spies on everybody (often with the help of the EU.... who share ALL your bank details, ALL your flight details with the US)

    1. Turtle

      @Dave 15 Re: They are probably right

      "That the Russians and Chinese spy on their folk does NOT make it more acceptable that the UK spies on its people or the US spies on everybody"

      If you think that the US is the only one attempting to spy on everyone or that the other countries only spy on their own citizens and residents of their own countries, then you are deluding yourself. They are all engaged in as much surveillance as they can manage.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: @Dave 15 They are probably right

        They are all engaged in as much surveillance as they can manage.

        Not that it is ever enough, it seems. The Dutch government has wasted no time to use the Thales train terrorist incident to yet again push for more intercept powers, just as if the Netherlands aren't becoming second to the UK already in terms of state surveillance...

        1. ckm5

          Re: @Dave 15 They are probably right

          Second to the UK? The Netherlands already has one of the highest rates of surveillance of any Western country, I doubt the UK is even close: http://amsterdamherald.com/index.php/allnews-list/306-20120523-one-in-1000-dutch-phones-wiretap-interception-police-evidence-gatherin

          Apparently they are fighting with the Italians for top spot: http://history.edri.org/book/export/html/41

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: @Dave 15 They are probably right

            Second to the UK? The Netherlands already has one of the highest rates of surveillance of any Western country

            I stand corrected. Thanks for the statistics - a worrying read indeed.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Gimp

      Re: They are probably right

      ...spent £15...

      I do enjoy how we are made to haemorrhage our cash on unwilling uploading "our" private data to the corporations and spies. It's undoubtedly the best thing ever.

  8. Paul Crawford Silver badge

    Rasputin, bring in the bucket of soapy frogs and remove his trousers!

    While everyone can see that Russia is hardly a bastion of freedom or protecting citizens from spying, it would be good if a few big enough countries kicked MS so hard in the privates that they were forced to make Win10 defaulting out of all spying.

    Then users would have to bend over and lub themselves, rather then find the new trousers come with a convenient hole and pre-lubed for MS' convenience.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Russian privacy laws? Nurse, quickly my sides are splitting!

  10. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
    Big Brother

    What's the problem comrade?

    It is working as designed (by the NSA)

  11. Test Man

    Směrť Špionam!

    Aaaaaaaahhh, aaaaaahhhaaaaahhhaaaaaaaaaaahhhhh..

    The Living Daylights

  12. Zot

    WTF is America doing to our computers!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Big Brother

      WTF has America been allowed to do to our computers.

      FTFY

      Where've you been hiding? This shit has been going on in full unbridled spate since the mid 90s and at a somewhat more measured tempo, since long before that...

  13. Alan Denman

    The spying is by governments' requests.

    Having ones cake and eating it comes to mind

  14. dotdavid

    In capitalist America...

    ...system operates YOU!

  15. All names Taken
    Happy

    Does it matter?

    Does it really matter what the end users device does anyway?

    As soon as it connects to a network (any network?) the network server can slup all that up any way?

    So why be coy?

    Google Drive really is your friend?

    Any way it is all sort of turning irrelevant as (haven't you heard?) China has crashed (probably means there is no dosh to bail out Corbyn, Greece, all the rest of defray-payment-policy-strategy-executive shmuchery(?) and besides the UK has always depended upon slaves and/or empire to pay for its costs of livings (plural and plurality seems important no? Alternatively: Get out of that TW?)?

  16. Mark 85 Silver badge
    Trollface

    Simple solution

    The data from Win10 should also go to the Russians. Problem solved. Might also work for China and the 5-Eyes. It'll save everyone some effort in data surveillance.

    1. All names Taken
      Alien

      Re: Simple solution

      That would mean the data, meta-data, meta-meta-data, meta^n-data were sort of free and the data holders (probably not the data users) aint gonna have that doodz!

      Tsk! You hoominz!

      Honestly!

    2. P. Lee

      Re: Simple solution

      >The data from Win10 should also go to the Russians. Problem solved.

      You're right, I think that problem has been solved.

      --

      However, the backlash against W10 is just further proof that this linux thing is a pinko commie conspiracy to hobble our security services and should be banned as aiding and abetting terrorists and dictatorships around the world. We didn't spend all that effort winning WW2, Vietnam, iRaq and Afghanistan to be thwarted by some ungrateful Europeans who want to run their own rubbish email servers and refuse to pay for things that have no business being free. They should be grateful for our shield of protective nukes and corporate hegemony which have kept a few of us richer them them, which is their punishment from God for being foreign.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Simple solution

        "iRaq"

        Eye rack? Shirley?

        1. moxberg

          Re: Simple solution

          Abs-o-f*cking-lutely: www.youtube.com/watch?v=xcjLEwZqcQI

  17. Chika
    Facepalm

    I suppose I should have seen this coming...

    I don't suppose China has had anything to say about Windows 10 yet, have they?

    1. Cardinal
      Big Brother

      Re: I suppose I should have seen this coming...

      Only that they spotted the sinister round-eyed face of the NSA peering through it!

  18. joed

    teh caption on the picture

    it's funny how close in Russian the forgotten is to killed. And Soviets made it mean all the same.

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