For people who know me, it's kind of obvious that I don't like Google and Apple, mainly because their attitude and disregard towards privacy and user rights. And for the same reasons, I was "tolerating" Microsoft, since they, as I thought, "failed to get enough competent manpower to be enough of a threat". Well, it turns out I was wrong. Or, if I was right, it was only temporary.
As most gamers are well aware now, the Xbox One, the new Microsoft console, released right for this Christmas, was to require a "permanent internet connection", until the pressure from both the industry and the consumers made them drop this insane idea.
So, I was aware that Microsoft did follow Apple and Google in their quest for the virtual world domination, but what I didn't realize, however, was how far they already were on the path: while trying the brand new Visual Studio Express 2013 for Desktop today, I routinely checked the "Help" menu. And I noticed an entry called "Online Privacy Statment". It states (among other things) as follow:
Microsoft may access or disclose information about you, including the content of your communications, in order to: (a) comply with the law or respond to lawful requests or legal process; (b) protect the rights or property of Microsoft or our customers, including the enforcement of our agreements or policies governing your use of the services; or (c) act on a good faith belief that such access or disclosure is necessary to protect the personal safety of Microsoft employees, customers, or the public. We may also disclose personal information as part of a corporate transaction such as a merger or sale of assets.
As every techie is aware, it's nowadays literally impossible to use any popular service on the Internet (github included) without having to comply to store data (including, especially, personal information) on third party servers; the first statement (the (a) one) is totally normal and part of the legal mumble. Now, please notice the second and the third ones (respectively (b) and (c)): this is granting them full reading rights over the contents of your computer and your communications; assorted with a legal blank check to do whatever they want with it (explicitely including selling your information and communications).
So, it seems that all the big corporations out there are cutting off our rights one after the other, at a speed that is increasing with time... The only problem I see in that is that the FOSS world is neither ready nor mature enough yet. So if your read that, and are to be involved in any FOSS community... Please think about anything you can do. And I do mean think: please don't contribute mindlessly to the already overly bloated messy junkpile that most of the FOSS is at the moment.