Does Microsoft Need Permission To Update Your System?

Over at Internet Evolution, David Silversmith writes today about software makers pushing security patches to your company’s computers even if you have automatic updating disabled.

That troubles me.


I think that any company engaged in this practice probably believes it is on solid legal footing.  My question is about the harm being done to the company’s brand.  My belief is simple:  if I tell a company not to do something–no phone calls or email or security updates–I expect my requirements to be followed without exception.  I referred today to Microsoft as paternalistic, but I already have parents.

Silversmith’s article traces Microsoft ignoring user requests for no automatic patching as early as 2007.

We all want a safe computing environment, and if a software vendor tells me that they want to update my operating system or some software because they’ve found a potential problem, I”m going to agree in 99% of the cases.  But I reserve the right to say “no”.

The ubiquitous blogging platform WordPress has great nag screens inside the main dashboard reminding users to update the system files or a plugin used to enhance the site.   WordPress is obviously a much simpler program, but it is used by tens of millions of sites, including large companies.  And because WordPress is so highly customizable, updating the new system may cause plugins or other ancillary programs to crash.  Some of those may even control basic e-commerce functions.

I really want to hear from Big Thinking’s readers on this issue.  Tell me:  if you say no to a software upgrade–even a security issue–should a software vendor be allowed to protect you from yourself?

I see this issue as very black and white.  Is that wrong?

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