John Paczkowski

Recent Posts by John Paczkowski

Microsoft Privacy Chief Announces Windows Cognitive Impairment

Microsoft seems to be suffering from a bit of institutional memory loss. How else to explain the company’s recent pot-to-kettle slagging of Google’s approach to privacy? “Google’s a great company, got some great products, but you know, in some respects, I think Google is where Microsoft was seven or ten years ago,” Peter Cullen, Microsoft’s chief privacy strategist, told ZDNet. “Microsoft has over 40 full-time people invested in privacy and over 400 part-time people. Google hasn’t–at least from what I read about them–evolved to that.”

Perhaps, perhaps not. But Microsoft’s record on privacy isn’t exactly untarnished–at least from what I’ve read about them. And that makes Cullen’s comment more than a bit ironic.

Surely we haven’t forgotten the privacy firestorm that erupted around Microsoft’s .NET Passport system back in 2002. There was an FTC investigation and enforcement action and a European Commission probe as well. And who could forget Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA), the anti-piracy program that phoned home to Microsoft every time a user rebooted his or her PC? And while it made headlines about a decade ago, the company’s Windows Registration Wizard, which was caught transmitting all manner of personally identifiable information to Microsoft, is still likely to redden a face or two in Redmond.

So maybe Google (GOOG) doesn’t have 400 part-time people working on privacy. But is it really where Microsoft (MSFT) was seven or ten years ago? Really?


Twitter’s Tanking

December 30, 2013 at 6:49 am PT

2013 Was a Good Year for Chromebooks

December 29, 2013 at 2:12 pm PT

BlackBerry Pulls Latest Twitter for BB10 Update

December 29, 2013 at 5:58 am PT

Apple CEO Tim Cook Made $4.25 Million This Year

December 28, 2013 at 12:05 pm PT

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik