To whose advantage does Windows Genuine Advantage accrue?
On the face of it, one would assume this is normal and part of a campaign to ensure that pirated software is not being used, yes?
Well, yes, that's true. But what else is going on?
Encrypted Channels, Back Doors
The fact is, if you've ever taken the trouble to watch what is happening 'behind the scenes' using TCP/IP sniffing tools like Wireshark, you'd plainly see that Microsoft, in their infinite wisdom are shuttling 'encrypted' data 'to and fro', 'fro and to' your PC, all unbeknownst to you over http encrypted tunnels -- all day long.
If that troubles you as much as it does me, then maybe it's time you considered doing business elsewhere?
Those http encrypted 'channels', if you will, can be for legitimate purposes, but as we have seen with the reckless abandonment of the recent disclosure of the NSA Prism program, they conceivably could be used as 'pre-built' backdoor channels into which the NSA or Microsoft, acting on their behalf, can gather information about your 'activities'. All this can be done with impunity and you've got no way to prove otherwise, because, as mentioned these are encrypted tunnels.
A Leap of Faith
If one takes the 'leap of faith' to trust and use Windows as millions do, then 'all your data belong to us' is a real possibility one must accept as well.
Without 'transparency', one accepts the terms of Microsoft licensing and because it is not Free and Open Source (FOSS), one has no way of checking how the Windows programs are written.
This should be a valid and legitimate concern of any Windows user.
FOSS Begets Transparency
That last part there, 'the source code', is what makes Linux truly transparent.
You see, there are 'many eyes', thousands up thousands of caring programmers around the World who collectively work on Developer Teams on various Linux projects coding the software. The virtue of this is that there is little or no possibility of any 'malicious' code being intentionally merged to a given project as the process for vetting source code by project managers, coders, all keeps that from happening.
Proprietary is Subject to Exploitation
That leaves much to be desired in terms of achieving transparency, would you agree? I'd say there is zero transparency with Windows.
Linux is Transparent, the Right Choice
Switching to Linux right about now might be on many readers' minds.
Linux is virus-free and for good reasons it is truly the safest operating system on the Planet.
I stake my reputation on it.
Be safe. --Dietrich