A recent article in the New York Times questions whether Microsoft is helping the Russian government to suppress dissent. It tells the story of a police raid of Baikal Environmental Wave - an environmental group that was protesting the government's plan to reopen a paper factory with a history of polluting a lake that "by some estimates holds 20 percent of the world’s fresh water."
The article claims that "the group fell victim to one of the authorities’ newest tactics for quelling dissent: confiscating computers under the pretext of searching for pirated Microsoft software."
Microsoft's director of public affairs, Kevin Kutz, stated that:
“We have to protect our products from piracy, but we also have a commitment to respect fundamental human rights,” he said. “Microsoft antipiracy efforts are designed to honor both objectives, but we are open to feedback on what we can do to improve in that regard.”
I am not familiar enough with the specifics of the cases cited in the article to discuss the individual merits. I did find it strange that this effort to curb dissent was being veiled in the guise of controlling software piracy.
I have a suggestion for Microsoft (or any other software vendor), however. Rather than getting caught up in these types of quagmires (it’s no secret Russian companies use pirated software), companies can achieve this balance is by using piracy business intelligence solutions like CodeArmor Intelligence. Software vendors can improve their targeting by collecting forensic evidence that their applications have been tampered with to enable unlicensed use and are actually being used by organizations.
There’s really no need for all the cloak and daggers - it's best to steer clear when doing business overseas and rely instead on data-driven decision making.
Marketing Director at Revulytics
Michael is Marketing Director at Revulytics where he is responsible for corporate marketing, content, and social media. He has helped to educate the industry on the benefits of software usage analytics for compliance and product management through the company's blog and contributed articles in trade publications. Michael was previously a marketing programs manager at The MathWorks and principal at Goff Communications. Michael earned a J.D. from Boston University School of Law and a B.A. from Colgate University.
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