StarForce: Copy protection or scumware? - Installs hidden devices

I just posted the article StarForce: Copy protection or scumware? - Installs hidden devices.

  Womble used our news submit to tell us that users of our forums report that the Star-Force copy  protection installs hidden drivers. The drivers can be shown when selecting  'hidden devices' in...
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Generally, most copy protections install their own drivers.

What protections do that?

I think also securom does the same…

But those can be removed, right?

SafeDisc Tages

This would appear to be illegal, assuming these files are installed without user knowledge. It would qualify the copy protection, in my mind, as a virusmalware et al. Therefore the manufacturers of any gameCD or otherwise would be liable to prosecution under distribution of computer virus related laws. I come to this conclusion since theres no telling what exactly these “drivers” might be doing in addition to validating a game installation, and preventing you from making a backup. They could be collecting data on your computing activities and sending them back to the company so they can inform the authorities of (what they consider to be) any inappropriate backing up of CDsDVDs. They could be monitoring the websites you visit. Who knows? We all know the power that can be contained in just a few K of code, having been through Sasser and other recent virus attacks, and this code is no exception.

I am sure you agree to install the drivers in the EULA.

No you don’t. Did a thorough reading of a game’s EULA and there’s no word of that. I am not suspecting malware code but buggy code. It might sound like this: “Does your computer run slowly after installing XYZ Game? That’s the new Starforce feature, installing bugs all over your system! Free of charge!”

Funny, I have BREED installed which is StarForce, none of these drivers are installed, not here anyways, but this is on SP2 for XP, let me check SP1

Why the fuss now? I knew this years back and I found no problem uninstalling them by right click. The only thing is I need to delete the driver itself after uninstalling from device manager.

Any program that installs itself without notifying the user is scumsoft. That includes apps that install during another program’s install ala Kazaa. 1 more vote for scumsoft. PS: I’m usually against more laws but I really feel there should be a law that requires a program to give a non hidden/non fine print disclosure that explains in everyday english what info that program is collecting and what it can/does do with it. Unfortunetly it might require some form of OS side protection to alert everytime a piece of software is installed into an executable space (startup registry keys, startup folder, win.ini, etc) and windows will give you a popup to allow or deny this 3rd party BS.