A typically Gatesian move would be to publicly espouse the luddite meme,
while working to undermine it from within, which would invite lawsuits
from both Larry Ellison on one side, and Bill Joy on the other...
"J. R. Molloy" wrote:
> Craig Mundie, the MS senior vice president helping Chairman Gates develop
> future strategies, says Microsoft is up to the challenge of "changing
> society's infrastructure." If the Bill Joy phobic meme ever infects Bill
> Gates, SI may come to mean suicidal intelligence. --J. R.
> Microsoft's 'HailStorm' service stirs up online privacy issues
> by Brier Dudley
> Seattle Times technology reporter
> An upcoming Microsoft system will use cameras and microphones to tell if a
> user is facing the computer or talking, so it will know whether it can deliver
> a message or a call.
> As if an antitrust battle wasn't enough, Microsoft has thrust itself into the
> growing national debate over online privacy with its new Internet-services
> initiative, code-named HailStorm.
> Microsoft is betting consumers will be willing to disclose more personal
> information in coming years, in return for HailStorm's ability to simplify
> online shopping, collaborating and communicating.
> Financial analysts say Microsoft may be the only company in the world with the
> skill and clout to pull it off, but privacy and security experts say the
> company may be overestimating how much information the public is willing to
> "This is sort of what defines you as an individual and I think there's some
> real issues there about giving some company control of that data," said Mark
> Rotenberg, director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, a nonprofit
> policy group in Washington, D.C.
> But Craig Mundie, the Microsoft senior vice president helping Chairman Bill
> Gates develop future strategies, contended that people were also reluctant to
> use credit cards at first because of privacy concerns, and now the cards are
> ubiquitous because they make life easier.
> Mundie said the public will fully accept the HailStorm concept and Microsoft
> as a trusted repository within five to 10 years. "They'll trade off aspects of
> personal information in order to get a benefit," he said.
> Gates presented HailStorm on March 19 as the cornerstone of a new generation
> of Internet services Microsoft will offer starting next year.
> Initially, HailStorm will consist of a universal password and a service that
> would deliver short text messages to computers, pagers, phones and other
> devices. It would also automatically coordinate appointment calendars and
> store personal files online.
> Eventually, the service will be able to watch and listen to computer users in
> their homes and offices, so it knows when they are busy and when to interrupt
> them with important messages and calls.
> Microsoft researcher Eric Horvitz, who demonstrated the seeing and listening
> "notification platform" at a conference in Seattle last week, said it will
> "inform the notification manager as to how best to get information to you in
> the right time and the right place."
> Basic HailStorm services, including an expanded version of Microsoft's
> Passport authentication service, will be free when they become available next
> year. Services such as automatic message delivery and calendar management
> would be available for perhaps $20 to $50 per year.
> HailStorm would ultimately act as an online super secretary, arranging
> appointments, filing documents, reminding the boss of a relative's birthday
> and even helping buy and ship an appropriate gift.
> If you are in a car accident, HailStorm could automatically send your medical
> history and insurance information to the hospital before the ambulance
> arrived. Then it could page your spouse and reschedule your appointments.
> But for HailStorm to do its job to the fullest, users would have to entrust
> Microsoft with all kinds of personal information.
> Already people share some personal information with their bank, other
> information with their doctor and still other information with friends and
> family. But most people don't give all that data to a central registry like
> HailStorm, said privacy advocate Rotenberg.
> "One of the ways we protect our privacy is by disclosing some of our
> information in some contexts and not in others, and it's in that selective
> disclosure of information that you establish bonds of trust and friendship
> with friends and family members and others," he said. "Sitting in the hub of
> those relationships is the actual individual.
> "What Microsoft seems to be doing here is saying, `Sure there's an individual,
> but we can effectively map those data flows and extract them from the
> individual and replicate them on a case-by-case basis,' and that's where I
> think some substantial privacy issues arise."
> Another concern for some is Microsoft's ability to protect that data. In
> announcing the service last month, Microsoft officials acknowledged the
> company has been vulnerable to attacks and system failures, but it also runs
> some of the world's busiest Web sites.
> "Now, being honest, some of that experience is very good and some of it's not
> so good," said Bob Muglia, the group vice president overseeing technical
> development of the services. "But we're committed to taking and learning from
> the mistakes that we've made, such as the outage we had in January, to make
> sure that we put in place the infrastructure so that we can run these things
> with extremely high degrees of availability."
> Still, having a single company in control of so much information makes some
> security experts leery of HailStorm.
> Centralizing data creates a target for attacks, especially if it's Microsoft
> doing the centralizing, said Richard Stiennon, security-research director for
> Gartner, a Stamford, Conn.-based consulting company that advises 60 percent of
> the Fortune 500 companies.
> "They're the most attacked infrastructure there is on the Internet, they're
> the No. 1 target for hackers," he said. "For Microsoft to take the step of
> having a centralized repository of information, a login or whatever it is, is
> something that Gartner clients won't be advised to do."
> Privacy and security concerns aside, Microsoft should have no problem creating
> the sophisticated network upon which HailStorm will operate, said Giga
> Information Group analyst Rob Enderle.
> "Their image as a secure and trusted provider of this service is probably the
> biggest Achilles heel," he said. "The second is the fee."
> Enderle said Microsoft may overcome privacy concerns by partnering with a
> trusted institution, such as Citibank, Visa or MasterCard, or perhaps even the
> U.S. Postal Service.
> Sooner or later, Enderle expects services such as HailStorm will drive the
> next wave of Internet commerce by providing a more personalized experience for
> the consumer. And Microsoft could make it work.
> "They're probably one of the only companies that can pull together the mass of
> resources, whether that be software development tools or platforms, to create
> an overall integrated solution among messaging, customer information and
> e-commerce that would be required to really change the Internet market," he
> Another hurdle may be Congress, where concern about online privacy has
> prompted several proposed laws that could restrict the collection and use of
> personal information. A spokeswoman for Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said
> privacy and Internet taxation are top priorities for his Commerce, Science and
> Transportation Committee. McCain and Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., are planning a
> privacy conference this spring to gather information from the public and
> Microsoft is asking lawmakers to give any new laws enough flexibility to allow
> services such as HailStorm, under the premise that users will be able to
> decide for themselves how much information they disclose to Microsoft and
> dictate how much the company will disclose on the Internet.
> Mundie said the company is up to the challenge.
> "We're talking," he said, "about changing society's infrastructure."
> Stay hungry,
> --J. R.
> Useless hypotheses:
> consciousness, phlogiston, philosophy, vitalism, mind, free will, qualia,
> analog computing, cultural relativism
> Everything that can happen has already happened, not just once,
> but an infinite number of times, and will continue to do so forever.
> (Everything that can happen = more than anyone can imagine.)
This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Mon May 28 2001 - 09:59:45 MDT