Privacy Groups To Urge States To Block Windows XP Integration With Passport

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A number of privacy groups on Tuesday plan to urge state attorneys general to use state laws to protect consumers from Microsoft's Passport identity and authentication system.

The privacy groups opposed to Microsoft's Web-based Passport system--and its integration with Windows XP--plan to formally issue an open letter asking state authorities "to protect consumers from the privacy and security risks raised by Microsoft Passport."

The open letter, which is to be detailed by the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), and other groups in a conference call Thursday afternoon, asks the attorneys general to use state laws to protect consumers against "unfair and deceptive" practices. Microsoft has claimed that users of Passport have adequate control over the personal information they are required to share in order to use the Web-based service.

The groups made a formal request to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in July and August to look into Microsoft's alleged "unfair and deceptive collection of personal information in Windows XP.

However, in light of a pending settlement agreement reached between the U.S. Department of Justice and the software giant in October, those privacy groups are now turning to state authorities to block Windows XP's integration with Passport.

The proposed consent decree arrived at in October does not address the integration of Microsoft's software products with its own Internet services, an issue that gave rise to criticism of the consent decree from state attorneys general in nine states and the District of Columbia. The U.S. District Court is set to begin the penalty phase of the antitrust case in March.

The letter is to be detailed Thursday by Chris Hoofnagle, Legislative Counsel, EPIC; Jason Catlett, President, Junkbusters, and Fellow at the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University; and representatives of other consumer groups.

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