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11/11/2005
06:27 PM
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Sony Still On The Hot Seat

Even though Sony decided to suspend using controversial copy-protection technology, consumers and network managers are still furious.

Despite Sony BMG Music Entertainment's decision to stop using its controversial copy-protection technology, the anger generated by what one expert called "inept-ware" is unlikely to subside anytime soon.

Security experts believe that the world's second largest music label failed to see the ramifications when it chose to install the software without first seeking permission from PC users, and then using technology called a "rootkit" to hide its presence. The software came with 20 music CDs sold by Sony BMG.

But some customers of the record company and its parent, Sony Corp., were far less forgiving.

"I am personally making it a policy of mine that from this point on, Sony won't be able to sell me anything," Dennis Barr, Kansas City, Mo., said. "My family has a PS2 (PlayStation 2) plus some games, and I have a Sony CD player in my stereo rack. But no more -- no Sony music, no Sony appliances, no Sony gadgets of any kind. They've lost my business for life, because they were too damn dumb to realize just what they were doing."

Besides the hit Sony has taken among customers, its brand appears to have also been tainted.

"I don't condone piracy, but the unbridled greed of Sony is disgusting," Michael King, Salinas, Calif., said. "They are saying what the others (record companies) think - they own the information forever, even if you buy it, and have the unlimited right to control the information, including its use no matter what or where."

While not under-playing the seriousness of Sony's technology, which hackers have exploited in an attempt to hide malicous software, security experts believe the company made a bad decision in trying to do something right, which is protect its property.

Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant for Sophos Plc, called the technology, which was developed by U.K.-based First4Internet, "inept-ware."

"I don't think it was malicious in its intent," Cluley said.

However, a poll of systems administrators by Sophos found a far stronger opinion, which Cluley called "typical."

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