Monday, November 14, 2005

Monday 14 November 2005

Cheney Lobbies Sony To Keep Controversial Secret, Evasive CD Software

Says Spyware Could Aid War On Terror; CIA Could Combine With Patriot Act To Nab Terrorists, Sympathizers

Sources tell The Garlic that Vice President Dick Cheney is appealing to Sony BMG Music Entertainment to keep its controversial, antipiracy program, XCP, on its CD's as a means to assist Cheney, and other agencies in the War Against Terror.

According to a high-level administration official, Cheney's request comes in concert with his lobbying efforts in Congress to have the CIA exempted from any new anti-torture legislation or bans.

"Apparently,: said the official, "the CIA has developed profiling, or some other program, related to music CD's and the listening habits of suspected terrorists and they don't want to disrupt that investigation."

Cheney met over the weekend with Andrew Lack, Chief Executive Officer of Sony BMG Music Entertainment, to make his case on keeping the secret spyware software.

Sony Music had announced last Friday that they were halting CD production, with the XCP software, after a torrent of criticism emerged from consumers, technologists and Internet privacy advocates.

Critics say that the XCP software is a destructive form of spyware that installs itself on a user's computer, without their knowledge and the program offers no instructions of links on its' removal. Additionally, the spyware offers computer hackers a door to take control of a user's computer, as well as allowing Sony to capture data on a user's listening habits.

Following the flood of complaints, Sony BMG issued a software patch a week ago to modify the behavior of their security program, and it also offered users a way to safely remove XCP from their machines.

XCP isn't the only antipiracy software Sony uses. For nearly two-years, Sony has sold about 20 million CDs containing MediaMax, an antipiracy program designed by SunnComm Inc. of Phoenix.

"When Cheney's office got wind of this," said the administration official, "they were in heaven. To have a corporation with the capability to secretly capture this much information, it was almost too good to be true for them."

In the meeting between Cheney, Lack and Cheney's new Chief of Staff, David Addington, Cheney presented the case to Sony that they were entitled to keep the software as is, and that, if necessary, the Vice President's office could officially mandate it under provisions in the Patriot Act.

"Cheney believes this could be their biggest breakthrough as to finding sympathizers, to breaking up terror cells."

Cheney's attachment of the Sony spyware to the CIA exemption of torture leads some experts to believe that the CIA is using music as one of the forms of torture in their network of secret prisons, or "black sites", as was disclosed last week by 'The Washington Post'.

President Bush, last week, vehemently stated that the United States "does not torture people", yet the Administration continues to block efforts to ban military and agency use of torture as related to captured, suspected terrorists.

Sony issued a statement that they have no plans to cease using their other formats of antipiracy software and experts watching this case believe they will simply "reformat XCP" so they can continue collecting the information.

The Vice President's office, as well as the White House, refused comment on the Cheney-Sony meeting, or that Sony BMG Music Entertainment has been awarded a "No-Bid" contract from the Hurricane Katrina Relief Program by the administration.

Outgoing Federal Reserve Bank Chairman Alan Greenspan, when asked what advice he could give to his successor, Ben Bernanke, to keep the U.S. economy afloat, answered "a shot of Jameson everyday, around 4PM, and a prayer ... It worked for me"

No comments: