Windows 10 Can Disable Pirated Software And Illegal Hardware Remotely

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Microsoft's Windows 10 can monitor your computer for counterfeit software and hardware and prevent access

Windows 10
The new End User Licence Agreement for Microsoft’s Windows 10 product gives it the right to remotely disable any counterfeit software or hardware it may encounter on your PC.

Microsoft has introduced a new End User Licence Agreement terms and conditions for Windows 10 that would allow it the right to disable counterfeit games, software and hardware.
The world’s largest software maker wants to combat the trade in “counterfeit games” and disable “unauthorized hardware peripheral devices.” It is not clear what the Tech-giant will do with non-gaming software or non-Microsoft peripheral devices that it may come across as suspicious.

PC Authority reports:

Section 7b – or “Updates to the Services or Software, and Changes to These Terms” – of Microsoft’s Services EULA stipulates that it “may automatically check your version of the software and download software update or configuration changes, including those that prevent you from accessing the Services, playing counterfeit games, or using unauthorised hardware peripheral devices.”

This means that, if you use Windows 10, a Windows phone, or any of Microsoft’s other services, Redmond can disable any games you’ve pirated or devices you’ve unlawfully hacked.

While it’s incredibly clear what Microsoft means by “counterfeit games”, the wording “unauthorised hardware peripheral devices” is a little hazy. Does this mean Microsoft can now block uncertified PC or illegally-modified Xbox One and Xbox 360 controllers? Furthermore, Microsoft’s EULA doesn’t state if it will also disable other counterfeit software, such as cracked versions of Office or Adobe Photoshop, or if it only cares about pirated games.

I’ve reached out to Microsoft for a comment about these unanswered questions and will update you when more information becomes available.

Video game piracy, or “counterfeit games” as Microsoft puts it, has been a big issue in PC gaming for a long time. Many developers have sought to circumvent it by hard-coding impossible odds into their games, which are only solved by having a purchased activation code on your computer. The same issue is also now becoming prevalent on Android and jailbroken iOS devices. However, under Microsoft’s new EULA, Windows 10 Mobile would be able to combat any pirated software a user loads onto their phone – potentially making it an attractive prospect for indie developers scared of having their work stolen.

Interestingly, Microsoft killed off its incredibly unpopular, DRM-heavy, Windows Live Games in Windows 10, and opted to support Steam instead. But, with these new terms and conditions, Microsoft has practically baked DRM into the core of Windows 10.

Edmondo Burr
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