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Topic # 27154 16-Oct-2008 09:29
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One of the guys at work was just asking me if I thought a scenario he'd just gone through with Quay Computers was a bit odd.  Basically, the the cooling in his graphics card had died and was causing his computer to shutdown.  Simple solution: replace graphics card with new card and install drivers.

What is odd to the both of us is that Quay decided to uninstall all the antispyware and antivirus software that he had on the computer (and had paid for) and replaced it with a trial version of a security suite.  When questioned, they replied that this was their policy and, by the way, the software they installed was vastly superior to what he had.

To my mind, this ain't on.  If I took my computer into a store and they fooked around with any of my software installations, I'd be fairly livid Yell.  What we have on our respective computers is our choice and they have no right to change anything - especially if this is just for a hardware fix.

[edit]Sod it, I'm blogging this as well.




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  Reply # 171462 16-Oct-2008 11:06
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Well I'll start by saying the most PC repair shops DO have a policy to remove dangerous, maliscious or blatently illegal software from a customers PC, this is standard practice throughout the industry and throughout the world because it covers the companies arse if something goes wrong later and they get questioned about the software on the machine.

Removing software which is either free to use, free to test, paid up software or custom software that they have no knowledge of, without the customers permission is not only down right rude but I'd say it's an invasion of privacy and may even be illegal (Unless of course he's signed something to say they can do whatever is neccessary to fix the machine, in which case it's just rude).

As for replacing software with superior stuff it's just good practice to ask first no matter how bad you think the customers choice is. I had a customer the other week using Norton Internet Security Suite, it was coming to the end of it's license (about 18 days left) and he'd been complaining about slowed performance recently, constant problems with downloading things, accessing web pages etc etc, I advised him that Norton was a very restrictive program that I do not under any circumstances recommend to anyone that isn't wearing a 2" thick tin hat, I also explained that there was other software out there, which was free for personal use, was lighter weight, would do much the same job without adding all the restrictions that Norton did, which he didn't want and had no hidden costs, renewal fees etc. More to the point with this annalogy we were actually looking for the cause of the problem and identified ONE of the causes to be this particular suite of software, looking at a completely different problem and changing things that are not related to it is like delving into the customers private photo stash when they've ordered a new battery.

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Reply # 171465 16-Oct-2008 11:13
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Hollow: Well I'll start by saying the most PC repair shops DO have a policy to remove dangerous, maliscious or blatently illegal software from a customers PC, this is standard practice throughout the industry and throughout the world because it covers the companies arse if something goes wrong later and they get questioned about the software on the machine.


I *can* agree the PC repair shops removing *blatently illegal software* from customer PC, but for other types of softwares - THEY SHOULD FIRST DISCUSS WITH THE CUSTOMER BEFORE REMOVING !




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Chaks

Desktop : Intel Quad Core Q9400 2.66GHz - 8GB RAM - 500 GB + 500 GB HDD - NVidia GeForce 9800GT - LG246WH Flatron Display - Windows Server 2008 R2 Enterprise with Hyper-V
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Reply # 171471 16-Oct-2008 11:26
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I don't care what 'policy' any shop has - to my mind they have no right to do anything other than the job they were asked to perform. I would be outraged if someone decided they could just replace/remove my software willy-nilly without so much as even talking to me about it first (Legal/Illegal or otherwise!).

Particularly rediculous considering the job was to replace a piece of hardware only? Presumably they're charging him for the time spent on this extra 'service' he didn't ask for as well?




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  Reply # 171472 16-Oct-2008 11:28
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Some of the apps removed: Mailwasher, Pareto Logic stuff, and Spyware Doctor.  Replaced with NOD32.




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  Reply # 171478 16-Oct-2008 11:35
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It's a silly approach. Because it could easily be a positive for them - If they would just get in touch first with their recommendations where appropriate and get permission. Then customers would likely be impressed by their initiative and take it as a positive thing.




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Reply # 171479 16-Oct-2008 11:35
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chakkaradeep: I *can* agree the PC repair shops removing *blatently illegal software* from customer PC


No, not even then. They are not Police and do not have a warrant. They could point this violation to someone else, but should never do anything on someone else's property without the proper authority.




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  Reply # 171486 16-Oct-2008 11:49
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freitasm:
No, not even then. They are not Police and do not have a warrant. They could point this violation to someone else, but should never do anything on someone else's property without the proper authority.


Actually you'll find there is somewhat of an obligation, whether you like it or not. This only applies to illegal software and of course if a PC shop finds something malicious then it would be irresponsible NOT to remove it.

This doesn't change the issue that removing software that is legitimate, licensed and not causing any issues is irresponsible. Also after working with NOD32 for some time I would not in any way shape or form say it was "highly superior" to any of the software mentioned when it comes to spyware and I've seen NOD32 bring down a server several times because it's background process calls caused an issue with Windows background process calls.

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  Reply # 171489 16-Oct-2008 11:55
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Hollow:

Actually you'll find there is somewhat of an obligation, whether you like it or not. This only applies to illegal software and of course if a PC shop finds something malicious then it would be irresponsible NOT to remove it.


Obligation to who? where's the legislation that supports this practise? who decides whats illegal? how do you know which software I do/do not hold licenses for? And in any case, would you not have an obligation to discuss this with your customer prior to taking action?




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Reply # 171491 16-Oct-2008 11:59
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RedJungle:
how do you know which software I do/do not hold licenses for?


Thats a valid query!




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Chaks

Desktop : Intel Quad Core Q9400 2.66GHz - 8GB RAM - 500 GB + 500 GB HDD - NVidia GeForce 9800GT - LG246WH Flatron Display - Windows Server 2008 R2 Enterprise with Hyper-V
Virtual Machine : Powered by Hyper-V and VMWare Workstation
Laptop: HP dv7-3004TX Entertainment Notebook PC | HP Touchsmart tx2 1119au - Windows 7 Ultimate x64
Mac: iMac 21.5" Snow Leopard
Mobile : iPhone 3GS

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  Reply # 171493 16-Oct-2008 12:07
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RedJungle:
Obligation to who? where's the legislation that supports this practise? who decides whats illegal? how do you know which software I do/do not hold licenses for? And in any case, would you not have an obligation to discuss this with your customer prior to taking action?


Personally I try not to know if the software on a machine is legal or illegal as I don't consider it my business to know, however you'll notice in my first post I said "blatently illegal", for example Windows constantly flagging up that it isn't a genuine copy. Now in that particular circumstance I personally would contact my customer, inform them of the situation and advise them that I would have to do one of the following:

1. Remove the Operating System
2. Re-license the operating system at cost
3. Re-install the machine with an operating system that was legal, be that Linux or a properly licensed Windows installation.

As a re-seller of Microsoft software I am bound by the terms and conditions of my contract with them (Believe me this annoys the sh*t out of me but I'm telling you how it is) to ensure that should I find a non legitimate copy of their software, I rectify it by removing the software or ensuring it is properly licensed before it leaves my posession. As I've said before I personally would contact the customer before making any such changes, but I wouldn't legally be allowed to give them the machine back without rectifying the situation.

As a responsible company we cannot allow maliscious software to remain on a machine that we are in posession of, it could damage our own network, the customers network if they're unaware that it is there or if it were to re-distribute itself through the internet it could damage many more machines/networks. Again upon finding this software I notify the customer before making any changes and if it is established that the customer knows about the software, can assert that it is for personal use and will not affect anyone but themselves then of course I can make exceptions to a certain degree but once again I am bound by law to take certain steps to ensure any maliscious software I find is contained and cannot cause harm.

Like I said, there is somewhat of an obligation whether you or I likes it or not. The scenarios I have described here are in NO WAY relieving Quay computers of their responsibilities and the stupidity of their actions, I was not and am not condoning their actions and in fact condemned them in my original post.

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  Reply # 171506 16-Oct-2008 13:02
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Hollow:
As a re-seller of Microsoft software I am bound by the terms and conditions of my contract with them (Believe me this annoys the sh*t out of me but I'm telling you how it is) to ensure that should I find a non legitimate copy of their software, I rectify it by removing the software or ensuring it is properly licensed before it leaves my posession. As I've said before I personally would contact the customer before making any such changes, but I wouldn't legally be allowed to give them the machine back without rectifying the situation.

 

Just to clarify: Legally? or do you mean according to the terms of your contract?

 

 





 

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  Reply # 171511 16-Oct-2008 13:24
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TinyTim:

Just to clarify: Legally? or do you mean according to the terms of your contract?

 

Considering a contract, even an automatically entered one such as the Microsoft Reseller Contract, is a legally binding contract, I'd say they were the same thing. If you disagree, then you don't understand contracts, so please, for your own sake, don't enter any.

 

Let's point out here that Symsys much prefers dealing with Linux and Open Source Software, than it does Microsoft and Adobe etc with all their extremely tight licensing and the ridiculous amount of effort they put into their software to protect it from being *stolen*. Unfortunately the world still needs products from Microsoft and Adobe and the likes, so we provide them, by providing them we are reselling their products, and by reselling their products we automatically enter into an obligation to uphold their licensing and respect the terms of their contract. I don't like doing it, I don't want to do it, but I have a business to run and keep running, so I do.

 

As I've said previously I deliberately try not to know what software on a customers machine is legal or illegal, I don't go looking at serial numbers, activation codes, trying to find evidence of hacker programs or dodgy patches, I work on an "Innocent until proven guilty, twice" basis when it comes to this stuff, however if a program tells me it is illegal, (Windows flagging the fact for example) I'm in breach of my contract if I don't act on it, whether you or I likes it, morally or legally, the issue isn't up for discussion, it is simply fact. If a customer tells me they have illegal software on their machine before giving it to me, I will ask them to remove it, if possible, before giving me the machine, to avoid this exact scenario.

 

I'm the biggest advocate of Free and Open Source Software you could find out there, so I actually think the licensing of these products is ridiculous and that a lot of these companies could learn a lesson or two from FOSS, I really do wish Windows and Photoshop were free, but they're not, and that doesn't change the fact that I run a business, which DOES have to abide by the law, the contracts it has entered into (Which become laws that it must abide by) and behave responsibly in it's actions.

 

I'm sorry to those who don't like it but if you ask any other RESPONSIBLE retailer who cares about their business and their customers they'll give you the same or similar answers.


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  Reply # 171513 16-Oct-2008 13:30
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lugh: Some of the apps removed: Mailwasher, Pareto Logic stuff, and Spyware Doctor.  Replaced with NOD32.


Sounds like they did a good job! ;)

Joking aside, I would be very angry. They have no right, illegal software or not.
If something is illegal they should alert the authorities. By tampering with it, they are interfering. They are not the law.

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  Reply # 171568 16-Oct-2008 15:41
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Even though this is pretty disgusting practice, NOD32 is one of the best AV's you can get. Would reccommend to anyone.

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