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[News] How Transparency Battles and Defeats Fraud and Corruption

  • Subject: [News] How Transparency Battles and Defeats Fraud and Corruption
  • From: Roy Schestowitz <newsgroups@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sun, 02 Sep 2007 05:22:00 +0100
  • Newsgroups: comp.os.linux.advocacy
  • Organization: Netscape / schestowitz.com
  • User-agent: KNode/0.10.4
Wikileaks Breaks $3 Billion Corruption Story

,----[ Quote ]
| Wikileaks, the website for whistleblowers, has broken one of the world's 
| biggest corruption stories in the international press... 


Another anti-consumer example (cartoon):



Insider Trading Hasn't Affect Microsoft Stock - Yet

,----[ Quote ]
| MarketWatch.com reports that Robbie Bach, president of Microsoft's
| Entertainment and Devices division, sold $6.2 million of Microsoft
| stock just prior to announcing that Microsoft was going to have to 
| extend XBox 360 warranties to three years because of extensive 
| failures. The filings note that this was not part of any 
| scheduled diversification or selling program; this was a 
| conscious, unscheduled sale by the guy in charge of releasing 
| news that could affect the value of Microsoft stock.
| [...]
| Insider trading is a very serious violation of the law; just 
| ask Martha Stewart, who served five months in prison for 
| avoiding losses of $43,000 through trades that just had suspicious 
| timing (no insider trading was actually proven). This is $6.3 
| million that went straight into Robbie Bach's pocket.


Microsoft exec dumped stock prior to Red Ring announcement

,----[ Quote ]
| To make matters more murky, the sales were not registered with the Securities 
| and Exchange Commission within the mandatory two days of the transaction, a 
| result of an alleged "administrative error." Microsoft has since remedied the 
| issue by following the "procedures required of late-filers."   


Microsoft's Bach sold more stock before Xbox news

,----[ Quote ]
| Microsoft Corp. executive Robbie Bach sold $3 million more in company stock 
| during the period leading up to an announcement about a costly flaw in its 
| Xbox video game console than previously reported, according to a filing 
| Monday with the Securities and Exchange Commission.   


Back doors in Windows XP...


German government admits it is already conducting online searches

,----[ Quote ]
| Piltz called on the German government to block funding for the
| programming of software used in online searches; she also said it
| was urgent that the government "discontinue these searches until
| the German Supreme Court has reached a ruling on the matter."


"Trusted" Computing

,----[ Quote ]
| Do you imagine that any US Linux distributor would say no to the
| US government if they were requested (politely, of course) to add
| a back-door to the binary Linux images shipped as part of their
| products ? Who amongst us actually uses the source code so helpfully
| given to us on the extra CDs to compile our own version ? With
| Windows of course there are already so many back-doors known and
| unknown that the US government might not have even bothered to 
| ask Microsoft, they may have just found their own, ready to
| exploit at will. What about Intel or AMD and the microcode on
| the processor itself ?


,----[ Quote ]
| In relation to the issue of sharing technical API and protocol
| information used throughout Microsoft products, which the
| states were seeking, Allchin alleged that releasing this
| information would increase the security risk to consumers.
|        "It is no exaggeration to say that the national security is
|        also implicated by the efforts of hackers to break into
|        computing networks. Computers, including many running Windows
|        operating systems, are used throughout the United States
|        Department of Defense and by the armed forces of the United
|        States in Afghanistan and elsewhere."


How NSA access was built into Windows

,----[ Quote ]
| A careless mistake by Microsoft programmers has revealed that
| special access codes prepared by the US National Security Agency
| have been secretly built into Windows.
| [...]
| The first discovery of the new NSA access system was made two years
| ago by British researcher Dr Nicko van Someren. But it was only a
| few weeks ago when a second researcher rediscovered the access
| system. With it, he found the evidence linking it to NSA.


NSA Builds Security Access Into Windows

,----[ Quote ]
| A careless mistake by Microsoft programmers has shown that special access
| codes for use by the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) have been secretly
| built into all versions of the Windows operating system.


Could Hollywood hack your PC?

,----[ Quote ]
| Congress is about to consider an entertainment industry proposal
| that would authorize copyright holders to disable PCs used for
| illicit file trading.


Microsoft issues emergency fixes for Vista 

,----[ Quote ]
| The fixes have been floating around in beta guise for a few weeks, but fall 
| well short of being the rumoured Vista SP1 discussed on the sort of forums 
| that discuss such things.  


Skeletons in Microsoft’s Patch Day closet

,----[ Quote ]
| This is the first time I’ve seen Microsoft prominently admit to silently 
| fixing vulnerabilities in its bulletins — a controversial practice that 
| effectively reduces the number of publicly documented bug fixes (for those 
| keeping count) and affects patch management/deployment decisions.   


Beware of undisclosed Microsoft patches

,----[ Quote ]
| Forget for a moment whether Microsoft is throwing off patch counts 
| that Microsoft brass use to compare its security record with those 
| of its competitors. What do you think of Redmond’s silent patching 
| practice?


Diebold Can't Sell E-Voting Subsidiary

,----[ Quote ]
| Diebold fails to sell its electronic voting business, changes the 
| subsidiary's name to Premier Election Solutions. 


Dark cloud over good works of Gates Found


Microsoft's Predatory Response to GNU/Linux

,----[ Quote ]
| 142. GNU/Linux is an "open source" operating system that runs on Intel-
| compatible PCs. Microsoft has targeted the competing operating system
| by pressuring Intel, as well as various major OEMs such as Dell and
| Compaq, to boycott Linux. In late 2000, for instance, Microsoft
| executive Joachim Kempin described his plan of retaliation and
| coercion to shut down competition from Linux: "I am thinking of
| hitting the OEM harder than in the past with anti- Linux actions" and
| will "further try to restrict source code deliveries where possible
| and be less gracious when interpreting agreements - again without
| being obvious about it," continuing "this will be a delicate dance."
| 143. LindowsOS (now known as Linspire), which is developed and
| marketed by Lindows.com, Inc., is an Intel-compatible PC operating
| system based on Linux and which competes directly with Microsoft on
| the. PC desktop. On information and belief, Microsoft interfered with
| Lindows.com, Inc.'s ability to distribute its product through the OEM
| channel. Microsoft also initiated a lawsuit against Lindows.com, Inc.
| that adversely affected Lindows.com, Inc.'s ability to exist, obtain;
| funding and conduct business. Mierosoft's Antieompetltive Agreements
| With OEMs To Foreclose Competition 144. Microsoft Chairman and former
| CEO, Bill Gates, reportedly summarized the effects of the DOJ's 1995
| consent decree--which banned "per processor" licenses, among other
| 47Page 48 exclusionary licensing termsmas "nothing." Microsoft was
| able to devise other restrictive OEM agreements to foreclose
| competition in th¢Õ 145. A "per system" license was the practical
| equivalent of the "per processor" license. Under the "per system"
| license, the OEM had to pay royalties to Microsoft for every computer
| of a particular "model" or "system" that it shipped--again, as with
| the "per processor" contracts, regardless of whether the PC contained
| Microsoft's operating system. Microsoft defined "system" and "model"
| so broadly in its contracts that virtually all of an OEM's production
| was subject to Microsoft's "double tax" if the OEM wanted to give the
| consumer a choice of operating systems. Microsoft did not agree to
| give up its "per system" licenses in the 1995 consent decree, even
| though the Department of Justice warned the federal district court
| that "per system licenses, if not properly fencet in, could be used by
| Microsoft to accomplish anticompetitive ends similar to 'per
| processor' licenses"--and in fact were. 146. Another way that
| Microsoft found to circumvent the federal court's 1995 injunction
| forbidding its use of "minimum commitment/per processor" licenses was
| what Microsoft calls its "Market Development Agreements" ("MDAs").
| Microsoft contrived the MDA as a device to evade the Court's decree
| prohibiting Microsoft from requiring OEMs to adhere to "minimum
| commitments." As Steve Ballmer (Microsoft's current CEO) acknowledged:
| "We have always given better prices to customers who work with us to
| make the market. Those used to take the form of commits [i.e., minimum
| commitments] which we do not do anymore as a result of the [federal
| court's] decree but we still believe in rewarding people who help us
| create demand. Hence the iMDA." Under the MDAs, Microsoft granted
| large discriminatory price concessions to those OEMs that would agree
| to market and promote Microsofl's Windows to the exclusion of any
| rival operating system. These discounts were
| 48Page 49 calibrated so as to force the OEM to sell most of its
| computers with a Microsoft operating system in order to obtain the
| lowest price. 147. Because the OEM market is so competitive and profit
| margins are so thin, every OEM had to get the lowest price it
| could :from Microsoft in order to survive. In March 2002, a Gateway
| marketing executive (Anthony Fama) testified before Judge Kollar-
| Kotelly in State of New York et al. v. Microsoft, Case No. 98-1233
| (CKK), about how Microsoft used its MDA program in order to force OEMs
| to market Microsot's operating system exclusively: "Given the
| substantial nature of these discounts, participation in the MDA, as a
| practical matter, is not optional. In other words, not
| receiving :these discounts would put Gateway at a substantial
| competitive disadvantage, and Gateway has communicated that self-
| evident proposition to Microsoft." Microsoft also used its MDAs to
| lock OEMs in and competitors out by offering a discriminatory price to
| the OEM in a later year provided (a) the OEM reached Microsoft's
| imposed goal of Windows sales over competitive sales in the prior year
| and (b) renewed its exclusionary contract with Microsoft for ,the
| later year. This placed the OEM on a perpetual treadmill, eliminating
| competition indefinitely. Microsoft continued these exclusionary terms
| at least past April 2002. 148. One method for encouraging competition
| in the operating systems market would have been the sale by OEMs of
| "naked machines" (i.e., computers that are sold without a
| predetermined suite of software forced upon the consumer). "Naked
| machines" would allow consumers to choose their computer's software
| configuration from an array of competitive software products, either
| for preinstallation by the OEM or installation by the end user.
| Microsoft sought and obtained the agreement of the OEMs to refrain
| from selling "naked machines." Instead, OEMs universally agree to
| "bundle" Microsoft applications and operating 49Page 50
| systems with their computer hardware, effectively depriving consumers
| of any competitive choices. These restrictive agreements exited before
| 2000 but, in 2000, Microsoft ratcheted the restriction up so that OEMs
| are forced to forfeit all discounts otherwise earned if they ship any
| "naked machines" to consumers. This heightened restriction, which (on
| information and belief) continues to the present, prohibits PC users
| and PC retailers from buying and installing lower priced or better
| quality operating systems of their choice.


Microsoft's past stock options practice poses questions

,----[ Quote ]
| Microsoft in 1999 announced that it would end a policy of awarding
| options at monthly lows and said it would take a $217 million charge,
| though many details of that discontinued practice haven't been widely
| known, The Wall Street Journal said Friday.
| Those details raise questions about how Microsoft began the practice,
| what prompted the company to end it and whether the way the options
| were dated--at 30-day lows the month after they were
| granted--influenced other companies, it said.


,----[ Quote ]
| My background is finance and accounting....
| However, the Gates Buffet foundation grant is nothing more than a shell
| game in which control of assets for both Gates and Buffet remain the same.


Lobbying Could Cause Legal Trouble for Microsoft

,----[ Quote ]
| "In the wake of the exposure of Microsoft's attempt to buy Sweden's vote on 
| OOXML and Sweden's annulment of that vote due to irregularities, IBM's Rob 
| Weir points out that the fiasco could cause anti-trust worries for Microsoft. 
| He quotes ALLIED TUBE & CONDUIT CORP. v. INDIAN HEAD, INC., 486 U.S. 492 
| (1988), which says 'What petitioner may not do (without exposing itself to 
| possible antitrust liability for direct injuries) is bias the process by, as 
| in this case, stacking the private standard-setting body with decision makers 
| sharing their economic interest in restraining competition.'"       


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