Seattle Court dismisses WGA spyware suit against Microsoft

In 2006, users noticed that the WGA tool was making daily contact with Microsoft's servers without their knowledge, even if software was valid. Three-and-a-half years after the suit was filed, a federal judge in Seattle has dismissed a case. Both sides requested the dismissal after a series of rulings against the plaintiffs -- including the […]

In 2006, users noticed that the WGA tool was making daily contact with Microsoft's servers without their knowledge, even if software was valid. Three-and-a-half years after the suit was filed, a federal judge in Seattle has dismissed a case. Both sides requested the dismissal after a series of rulings against the plaintiffs -- including the rejection of their proposed class-action claims. One of the key rulings in the case was U.S. District Court Judge Richard Jones' decision that WGA's collection of a user's IP address didn't violate the terms of a licensing agreement that promised not to transmit "personally identifiable information" without the user's consent. "In order for 'personally identifiable information” to be personally identifiable, it must identify a person. But an IP address identifies a computer, and can do that only after matching the IP address to a list of a particular Internet service provider’s subscribers," the judge wrote. "Thus, because an IP address is not personally identifiable, Microsoft didn’t breach the EULA when it collected IP addresses." Microsoft spokesman Kevin Kutz said, “This case has been dismissed, and we are pleased it was resolved successfully.”