Microsoft hit with second lawsuit over WGA

Microsoft has been hit with a second lawsuit over WGA, its antipiracy program that checks if the Windows operating system on a machine has a valid license.

Microsoft has been hit with a second lawsuit over Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA), its antipiracy program that checks if the Windows operating system on a machine has a valid license.

The class-action suit was filed Friday in US District Court in Seattle, just four days after the first one. The new suit lists its plaintiff as Engineered Process Controls and Univex, along with citizens Edward Misfud, David DiDomizio and Martin Sifuentes, who are listed as owners of licensed copies of Windows XP running WGA.

The suit alleges WGA is spyware and that Microsoft mislead consumers by labeling it as a critical security update. The plaintiffs maintain Microsoft did not make users aware that WGA frequently contacted its central servers.

"WGA gathers data that can easily identify individual PCs, and WGA can be modified remotely to collect additional information at Microsoft's initiation," according to the filing.

WGA collects a computers IP address, BIOS data, system version and local language and settings information, the suit says.

Microsoft acknowledges WGA collects hardware and software data but maintains it is only used to verify that only one copy of an OS has been registered on one computer. If Microsoft finds a discrepancy, WGA can notify users their OS may be unlicensed through pop-up warnings.

Users have complained WGA is flawed, identifying legitimate copies of an OS as fraudulent. Microsoft blocks the download of some programs but allows security patches if an OS is judged to be invalid.

Last week, Microsoft changed some features of WGA, including adding an option that let users turn off warnings that their OS may be invalid and the frequency with which WGA communicated with its servers.

The suit asks for compensation and for Microsoft to warn users of the risks of WGA and produce tool to remove it.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jeremy Kirk

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?