Deloitte & Touche Audit Activation Process
by Arie Slob
Hello Windows users,
Microsoft this week confirmed that Deloitte & Touche LLP, has completed an independent audit on the product-activation process contained within Microsoft® Windows® XP, Office XP and Visio® 2002 products. Microsoft Product Activation is an anti-piracy technology designed to verify that software products have been legitimately licensed. Product Activation works by verifying that a software program's product key has not been used on more personal computers than intended under the software's license and collects and transfers only the information required to activate the software.
Deloitte & Touche conducted an examination, in accordance with the American Institute of Certified Public Accountant's attestation standards, of Microsoft assertions regarding the product activation process. Those assertions and the examination report of Deloitte & Touche can be viewed here [229KB - PDF format]
Richard Purcell, director of corporate privacy for Microsoft, confirmed that procedures to guide information collection and use for all new technologies and products are in place. "Our overarching goal is to ensure that consumers have complete control over their information," Purcell said. "Microsoft's adherence to the fair information principles dictates that processes such as product activation collect only what's necessary for the task at hand."
User privacy was a paramount design goal in the building of Product Activation technology. The product activation process is designed to ensure the privacy of those users who do not wish to release their personal information. For telephone activation, only the installation ID is required for activation. For Internet activation, only the installation ID and other information necessary to make an Internet connection are required. For Office and Visio drawing and diagramming software products, the name of the country in which the product is being activated is also required.
Microsoft successfully implemented Product Activation in retail versions of Office more than two years ago in Australia, Brazil, China, Hong Kong and New Zealand. Over the past two years, implementation in the United States and Canada has been carried out. Since the introduction of activation technology with Office 2000, nearly 18 million activation requests have been processed.
The company has made several enhancements to the technology based on consumer feedback, resulting in an even more seamless activation process. For example, most consumers who acquire their Microsoft Windows XP operating system preinstalled on a new PC will find the software has already been activated.
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