A patent filed by Microsoft reveals the company has voluntarily created software that provides the Government and other agencies seeking to spy on you:
A patent filed by Microsoft seeks to give the company exclusive rights to intercept personal electronic communications and resend them directly to the Government and other agencies who may be seeking to spy on you. By filing the patent, Microsoft clearly shows they have voluntarily created the software, instead of waiting for a Government mandate to do so. The patent states that “the government or one of its agencies may need to monitor communications” and software acts as a “recording agent” that is able to silently record the communication”. The patent specifically names certain types of communications, such as Skype calls, instant messaging, video conferencing software, and even meeting software but does not stop there. Instead it goes on to label just about all electronic devices you can think of as a computer and requests for a patent to be able to intercept digital communications from those devices, and even access data stored in a variety of other storage mediums, and forward the to the Government. A Gizmodo article on the patent points out that Microsoft appears to trying to patent Skype spying, which is specifically named within the patent, but the scope of patent goes far beyond the ability to just spy on Skype calls. Only by digging into the patent can you see the deceptiveness in Microsoft’s the labeling of certain technologies and realize the true scope of what the software company is trying to provide the Government easy access to spy on. For example, the label all packet-based communication as VoIP, which clearly nothing is further from the truth. All data that can be sent over the internet is a “packet-based communication”.
[…] the term VoIP is used to refer to standard VoIP as well as any other form of packet-based communication that may be used to transmit audio over a wireless and/or wired network. For example, VoIP may include audio messages transmitted via gaming systems, instant messaging protocols that transmit audio, Skype and Skype-like applications, meeting software, video conferencing software, and the like.
The patent goes on and deceptively labels all digital electronic devices as computers, say that everything from computers, to printers, gaming devices, automobile systems, even printers, home appliances and all other mobile based electronics are computers. The patent even applies to microcontroller which are often the brain of electronic devices and used in products ranging from automobile engine control systems, implantable medical devices, remote controls, office machines, appliances, power tools, and even toys.
A computer may include any electronic device that is capable of executing an instruction[…]
Examples of well known computing systems, environments, or configurations that may be suitable for use [include] personal computers, server computers, hand-held or laptop devices, multiprocessor systems, microcontroller-based systems, set-top boxes, programmable consumer electronics, network PCs, minicomputers, mainframe computers, personal digital assistants (PDAs), smartphones, gaming devices, printers, appliances including set-top, media center, or other appliances, automobile-embedded or attached computing devices, other mobile devices, distributed computing environments that include any of the above systems or devices, and the like.
The patent also doesn’t stop with computers or even communications for that matter. It targets a variety of offline mediums that can used to store data and even computer programs themselves.
[…] a variety of computer-readable media [including] any available media that can be accessed by the computer removable and non-removable media implemented in any method or technology for storage of information such as computer-readable instructions, data structures, program modules, or other data.
Computer storage media includes RAM, ROM, EEPROM, flash memory or other memory technology, CD-ROM, digital versatile discs (DVDs) or other optical disk storage, magnetic cassettes, magnetic tape, magnetic disk storage or other magnetic storage devices, or any other medium which can be used to store the desired information and which can be accessed by the computer.
The patent further reveals that the software’s capability includes the ability to intercept all digital communications regardless of the medium, or whether they are online or offline, bluntly including the ability to intercept all modulated data signals.
Communication media typically embodies computer-readable instructions, data structures, program modules, or other data in a modulated data signal such as a carrier wave or other transport mechanism and includes any information delivery media. The term “modulated data signal” means a signal that has one or more of its characteristics set or changed in such a manner as to encode information in the signal. By way of example, and not limitation, communication media includes wired media such as a wired network or direct-wired connection, and wireless media such as acoustic, RF, infrared and other wireless media. Combinations of any of the above should also be included within the scope of computer-readable media.