What’s That Microsoft?

how often do you find yourself getting to a website these days and something is asking you to install ActiveX or something else? What is happening and why is it necessary?

(Yes – I’ve changed this entry. I dug a bit and it got more interesting.)

I’ve been on my hobby horse recently about the majors (and indeed web users oursleves) paying lip serving to “taking privacy seriously” but then going through a wholesale move in the other direction, I have been getting more and more concerned about little messages when reading web pages that ask me to install extra bits of software.

The most common is “ActiveX” at the moment, but others seem to be coming out of the woodwork all over the place. Microsoft seem to be behind most of them… “Silverlight” is a new alternative to flash – but since it requires me loading software, who’s checking that  the software is protecting my rights? But at least I know what “Silverlight” is. Yesterday I downloaded a web page and found Microsoft installing new stuff . What does Microsoft think I should do when something called “data access services” is requesting access to my computer?

.Microsoft Installing New stuff

My suspicions that all the players are paying lip-service to privacy is more than a little reinforced when we hear that W3C had to publish its Platform for Privacy Policy (PP3P) recommendations without Browser support. The P3P Specification Working Group took this step as there was insufficient support from current Browser implementers for the implementation of P3P 1.1. That is an appalling state of affairs. W3C’s members (the ones that refused to back the policy) include Google, Yahoo, Apple and Microsoft.

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