After this whole mess with rootkits, I’m starting to think Sony should be giving monetary compensation to those effected. Write an app to see if the rootkit was installed, and give a confirmation number. That number should be worth some hard cash, since it appears that the only way to get rid of this giant hole is to completely wipe your hard drive and reinstall your stuff (lots of time, and as we know time = money).
I don’t believe for a second this caught Sony by surprise, they knew what the software did, and how much trouble it can cause the end user. Their business strategy was simply to hope nobody noticed. There’s no way this software was written without an understanding of what it did. Absolutely no chance. Rootkits have been a topic of discussion for sometime (mainly related to spyware).
I’d say those effected deserve at least $250- per computer, likely more. Considering the best remedy right now is to backup documents, format and reinstall. That will take at least 3hrs -5hrs for most people. And for many people who don’t have much experience with this, it will take much longer.
In all honesty, Sony should face some legal consequences for fraud or hacking, since that’s essentially what they did. If a 17 year old can get 17 months for hacking Paris Hiltons cell phone (the last part of her anatomy not widely available on the internet), and Canada got a kid for 2 years, how could this be worth nothing?
If nothing happens to Sony (which is very likely), the next company to attempt this is going to take it a step further, and it’s just going to get worse. I think CNet’s article has a great title “Who has the right to control your PC?”. Very appropriate.
Update [11/21/2005 @ 1:58 PM EST]: Texas sues Sony BMG over alleged spyware. Thank you State of Texas! I still want users to be compensated though. They are the ones who get still get the short end of the stick.