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Change.org petition calls for EFF to investigate Microsoft’s Windows 10 practices

Well, this is interesting. A concerned consumer has jumped onto Change.org to create a petition asking the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) to investigate Microsoft. Why? Because of the way the Redmond company has handled Windows 10, including the nagging free upgrade process which will finally end on July 29, exactly one year after Windows 10 hit the market.

“Microsoft’s practices with their newest operating system, named Windows 10, has been ignorantly unethical at best and malicious at worst,” states Todd Kleinpaste in his petition. “The problems begin with the upgrades. Reports everywhere state that people are being tricked or forced into upgrading to Windows 10 from their current, preferred version of Windows.”

The petition calls out one specific incident where the 6GB Windows 10 update was automatically downloaded to a computer used by a man who fights militarized poachers in the African bush. This heavy update downloaded on a costly per-megabyte connection, and thankfully didn’t take place during a combat operation, which would have cut off vital communication as the new operating system downloaded.

In addition to the forced install fiasco, the petition also points to the tracking mechanisms in Windows 10. When customers use “Express Settings” during the Windows 10 installation process, they’re allowing Microsoft to keep track of text and touch input, location data, contacts, calendar information, and more. These can be turned off after the fact, but some of the information gathering tricks can’t be halted unless the consumer digs into the registry and group policy editor.

If that wasn’t enough to make Windows 10 users nervous, the petition even points at the operating system’s ability to uninstall software without the user’s consent. The petition links to a specific article that says Windows 10 began uninstalling software after the Threshold 2 update rolled out in November 2015. The reporter even provides a personal accounting of Windows 10 uninstalling a hardware information program called Speccy during the upgrade process.

Related: Tell Microsoft what you really think about Windows 10 with Feedback Hub

Finally, the petition claims that Microsoft intends to stop the installation of software that’s sold outside the Windows Store. We’re pretty sure that’s not correct, but rather Microsoft is holding on to specific Windows 10 features for developers who create applications and games based on the Universal Windows Platform (UWP). That means all apps and games based on this platform are sold only through Microsoft’s storefront, and won’t be made available on Steam or other digital distribution platforms.

“Despite outcries in forums, articles, and every other venue, Microsoft has not issued an apology, a retraction, or mentioned in any way that they are going to cease these practices,” Kleinpaste adds. “The only mention of them ceasing any of it is that the upgrade to Windows 10 will no longer be free after this coming July.”

As of this article, the petition has rounded up 760 supporters out of the needed 1,000 individuals. The attached (brief) letter doesn’t state anything else other than asking the EFF to conduct a formal investigation into Microsoft for unethical business practices. The petition was created on Change.org just three days ago, so the amount of support has averaged to around 253 backing individuals per day. That means the petition should be on its way to the EFF in no time.

Update: 42 more people signed the petition in just an hour. Can someone play the theme to The Jeffersons, please!

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