Windows 10 will block access to any pirated software and hardware it can identify on a PC, phone or other mobile device, according to an updated section of Microsoft’s European End User License Agreement (EULA).
The details related to counterfeit programmes comes under section 7b titled ‘Updates to the Services or Software, and Changes to These Terms’ which reads:
“Sometimes you’ll need software updates to keep using the Services. We may automatically check your version of the software and download software updates or configuration changes, including those that prevent you from accessing the Services, playing counterfeit games, or using unauthorized hardware peripheral devices. You may also be required to update the software to continue using the Services.”
The terms pertain to any Windows phone, device and Microsoft service running Windows 10, Skype, Office 365, Xbox Live and several other programmes. The new clause allows the manufacturer to block games and applications downloaded across illegal platforms. It will also disable any hacked hardware components.
It is unclear whether Redmond-based Microsoft is specifically targeting pirated video games, from torrent sites such as The Pirate Bay, or if it will also automatically detect and disable software such as the Office suite and Adobe’s Creative Cloud suite which are both prone to illegal downloads.
For now, a lot of ambiguity surrounds the new measures with no blacklist provided to define the ‘unauthorised’ software and hardware. Microsoft could end up disabling legitimate content and equipment – a user splashing out on a piece of expensive kit not recognised by Microsoft may be slightly disappointed to discover its incompatibility. Many users are also questioning Microsoft’s power to monitor every installation and download on a Windows system to deliver this service.
However, there is still no guarantee that these particular terms of the license will be enforced.