WGA -The Windows Genuine Advantage is a required tool for all genuine Windows downloads on Microsoft Download Center. This anti-piracy tool attempts to contact Microsoft over the internet each time the computer boots. The connections occur even if you do not have Windows Automatic Update enabled.
Lauren Weinstein — “The new version of the "Microsoft Genuine Advantage" tool reportedly will repeatedly nag users of systems it declares to be invalid, and will then apparently deny such users various "non-critical" updates. Apparently various parties have already found ways to bypass this tool, though the effects of this on later updating capabilities remain to be seen”.
I do not know what data is being sent to MS or is being received during these connections. I cannot locate any information in the MS descriptions to indicate that the tool would notify MS each time I booted a valid system. I fail to see where Microsoft has a "need to know" for this data after a system's validity has already been established, and there may clearly be organizations with security concerns regarding the communication of boot-time information.
I'll leave it to the spyware experts to make a formal determination as to whether this behavior actually qualifies the tool as spyware.
Windows, WGA, Windows Genuine Advantage, interacts