Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Microsoft: You Will Do It Our Way, And Like It

The people at Microsoft have changed the terms of service agreement, and it's to their benefit, not your's.  Not that this has any practical impact on most people, but the new clause amounts to you agreeing to sign away your rights and options, should you get screwed by the people at Microsoft.

I mean, really, the entire ToS is written by lawyers to protect the interests of the people who own the legal entity known as Microsoft.  It is written by really smart people, with really expensive college educations, to ensure that they have as many advantages as possible - as allow ed by the laws they can buy from politicians. (Note again I said they have college educations - a college education is expensive, and there are lots of trade-craft jobs that pay really great wages, but the only guaranteed way to escape poverty is by getting an education, so even if you do become an industrial welder in your 20s, stick with the part-time college work, because that's how you can move into management in your 40s).

Here are the two key parts of the latest revision of the Microsoft Terms of Service (as of July, 2014)

Effective July 31, 2014

IF YOU LIVE IN THE UNITED STATES, SECTION 10 CONTAINS A BINDING ARBITRATION CLAUSE AND CLASS ACTION WAIVER. IT AFFECTS YOUR RIGHTS ABOUT HOW TO RESOLVE ANY DISPUTE WITH MICROSOFT. PLEASE READ IT.

10.4. Class action waiver. Any proceedings to resolve or litigate any dispute in any forum will be conducted solely on an individual basis. Neither you nor Microsoft will seek to have any dispute heard as a class action, private attorney general action, or in any other proceeding in which either party acts or proposes to act in a representative capacity. No arbitration or other proceeding will be combined with another without the prior written consent of all parties to all affected arbitrations or proceedings.

Most of you are asking: So what?

Class Action is a way of helping the little guy - you and me - share the unbelievably huge cost of lawsuits. Microsoft Corporation has the money to fight a legal battle between now and Armageddon, but you and I are lucky if we can afford to pay a lawyer to talk to us about whether or not we even have legal standing to sue Microsoft Corporation, let alone actually plunge into the costs of that lawsuit.

By this contractual clause, we agree to surrender an important legal opportunity.  It's a bit like saying "Oh, yes, I agree that if you throw me over a barrel and butt rape me, that I can't change my mind later and decide I regret it."

Seriously. It's like the rights of privacy you surrender to the asshats at Faceborg or Googleborg when you agree to use their services (technically, I've surrendered the Copyright to what I'm writing here, and I've accepted that).

There are website entities where you can agree to let them abuse you and treat you like shit, including what amounts to rape, or injury, then sell the videos of them doing it to you, typically in exchange for a one-time payment of money (but they make piles by selling the video again and again), and you've surrendered you right to ever stop them (short of murder or vandalism). (This entire paragraph is literal, not figurative. It's freaky shit people do.)

It's a bit like that - you want what Microsoft or Faceborg offers? You agree to surrender everything in order to have it.

It's all about money, power and privilege. It's class warfare, bitches. Welcome to the digital age.