Microsoft arms Win8 store apps with remote self-destruct
The power to make problems disappear
Microsoft has added a kill switch to the Windows Store that’ll let Redmond remove apps from Windows 8 beta machines.
Mention of the kill switch is buried deep within the text of the terms-of-use for the Windows Store for Windows 8, which were published this week. According to Microsoft’s red tape, here:
In cases where your security is at risk, or where we’re required to do so for legal reasons, you may not be able to run apps or access content that you previously acquired or purchased a license for.
In cases where we remove a paid app from your Windows 8 Beta device not at your direction, we may refund to you the amount you paid for the license.
Microsoft wouldn’t be the first online app store provider to give itself the power to remotely take apps off of customers devices once in their hands. Apple’s App Store and Google’s Android Market also has them. ®
> we may refund to you the amount you paid
Interesting choice of modal verb there. It leaves them free to zap your app and NOT refund you.
Computer Misuse Act 1990
It'll be interesting to see if they try that in the UK. Sections 1 and 3 of the Computer Misuse Act lay out the penalties for unauthorised access to a computer. I'm pretty sure a click-through EULA won't trump those.
Interestingly, section 3A of the above Act makes it an offence to make, adapt, or supply any article intending it to be used in the commission of an offence under sections 1 or 3. That would make the creation of the Win8 store a criminal offence...
Nothing will happen, of course - because these laws are only ever enforced against individuals, never against anyone who might make any sort of political contribution...
Ohhello hai this is microsoft and we see you bought an app but not from our store so we will remove it so you have to buy it from us instead.
Image a hack or virus/trojan that triggers this to totally remove all purchased apps from your pc.
I will purposefully find that app that communicates with the store and block it for good.