Google’s Silent Gate-crash

Today a shortcut called “Google Chrome” showed up in my start menu. When I clicked it it told me that I was at the final step of my installation. Funny thing is that I don’t remember starting any installation. And neither do I remember downloading anything to install in the first place. But I guess when you are Google you can get away with anything.

[Free Advice: Do not click shortcuts that turn up on your computer unless you verify their source and know exactly what you are doing.]

Things get scary when companies decide what software they think you should have and then go ahead and download and install it for you. Thankfully, the only thing they cannot do is make you use it.

  • FCSuper

    If they did, that would be a virus.

  • FCSuper

    If they did, that would be a virus.

  • R. Paul Waddington

    “Things get scary when companies decide what software they think you should have and then go ahead and download and install it for you.”

    This is precisely why I do not like what Autodesk, and others, have been doing for a long time. Autodesk’s CIP is a piece of software nobody has asked for, that Autodesk include and load, on your design systems, without YOUR permission!

    This practice I believe should be stopped, by legislation if needs be, something I am working toward next year.

    “Thankfully, the only thing they cannot do is make you use it.”

    On the surface this appears true, but the reality is different. As an example, Autodesk’s CIP can be very easily activated and transmit data from the customers design systems, without the users knowledge; and therein lays the problem!

    Couple that with the fact Autodesk will not reveal any details of what they are taking OFF your design systems and you have to wonder what else have they done or intending to do.

    In my opinion, FCSuper, Autodesk’s software has the characteristics of both a virus and a Trojan; what they are doing must STOP immediately if not sooner!

  • R. Paul Waddington

    “Things get scary when companies decide what software they think you should have and then go ahead and download and install it for you.”This is precisely why I do not like what Autodesk, and others, have been doing for a long time. Autodesk’s CIP is a piece of software nobody has asked for, that Autodesk include and load, on your design systems, without YOUR permission!This practice I believe should be stopped, by legislation if needs be, something I am working toward next year.”Thankfully, the only thing they cannot do is make you use it.”On the surface this appears true, but the reality is different. As an example, Autodesk’s CIP can be very easily activated and transmit data from the customers design systems, without the users knowledge; and therein lays the problem!Couple that with the fact Autodesk will not reveal any details of what they are taking OFF your design systems and you have to wonder what else have they done or intending to do.In my opinion, FCSuper, Autodesk’s software has the characteristics of both a virus and a Trojan; what they are doing must STOP immediately if not sooner!

  • William

    Hi Deelip!,

    That´s the trend: no matter how, no matter when, our PC will be caugth for theses monopolist monsters. I really would love to do a final shutdown…but by the way I need these machines that feed me.

  • William

    Hi Deelip!,That´s the trend: no matter how, no matter when, our PC will be caugth for theses monopolist monsters. I really would love to do a final shutdown…but by the way I need these machines that feed me.

  • Deelip Menezes

    Paul,

    As far as I know, Autodesk’s CIP is purely optional and their product installers specifically ask you whether you want to join the program or not. They also give you the option of leaving the program at a later date, if you choose to.

    I also believe that the only case when participating in the CIP is mandatory is when you sign up for testing beta releases, which is perfectly all right, because thats the whole point of a beta – to get feedback.

    What Google did was wrong. It went ahead and installed an entire application without my knowledge and permission. I don’t believe Autodesk does the same with their CIP.

    You appear to have done a trememdous amount of research on this and if you have information/proof that suggests the contrary to what I stated above, I am sure we all would love to hear it.

  • Deelip Menezes

    Paul,As far as I know, Autodesk’s CIP is purely optional and their product installers specifically ask you whether you want to join the program or not. They also give you the option of leaving the program at a later date, if you choose to.I also believe that the only case when participating in the CIP is mandatory is when you sign up for testing beta releases, which is perfectly all right, because thats the whole point of a beta – to get feedback.What Google did was wrong. It went ahead and installed an entire application without my knowledge and permission. I don’t believe Autodesk does the same with their CIP.You appear to have done a trememdous amount of research on this and if you have information/proof that suggests the contrary to what I stated above, I am sure we all would love to hear it.

  • R. Paul Waddington

    Simple answer Deelip; you don’t get the choice not to load CIP; it loads whether you want to participate or not! Yes you get the opportunity to turn it off but it can EASILY be reactivated and transmit data WITHOUT the users knowledge!
    I also repeat, Autodesk has stated it is not prepared to provide details of the data it removes from users design/computing systems so who in their right mind would particpate?
    Yes we have worked on this, have the data to support our concerns and will continue working on this until Autodesk comes clean or we achieve the alternative!

  • R. Paul Waddington

    Simple answer Deelip; you don’t get the choice not to load CIP; it loads whether you want to participate or not! Yes you get the opportunity to turn it off but it can EASILY be reactivated and transmit data WITHOUT the users knowledge!I also repeat, Autodesk has stated it is not prepared to provide details of the data it removes from users design/computing systems so who in their right mind would particpate?Yes we have worked on this, have the data to support our concerns and will continue working on this until Autodesk comes clean or we achieve the alternative!

  • Deelip Menezes

    Interesting…

    Since a user can turn it on and off, I guess it makes sense to install it anyways, instead of asking the user to have him whip out the installation CD every time he wants to use something optional. As a software developer, I know that it isnormal practice to install optional DLLs which can be loaded on demand, whenever the user decides to make use of the functionality in those DLLs.

    Please explain “it can EASILY be reactivated and transmit data WITHOUT the users knowledge”.

    Are you suggesting that even after a user elects not to join the CIP program, the software somehow automatically starts phoning back to Autodesk without the user doing anything?

    That sounds like a huge allegation to me. If this is indeed what you are suggesting then I hope you have sufficient evidence to back your claim.

  • Deelip Menezes

    Interesting…Since a user can turn it on and off, I guess it makes sense to install it anyways, instead of asking the user to have him whip out the installation CD every time he wants to use something optional. As a software developer, I know that it isnormal practice to install optional DLLs which can be loaded on demand, whenever the user decides to make use of the functionality in those DLLs.Please explain “it can EASILY be reactivated and transmit data WITHOUT the users knowledge”.Are you suggesting that even after a user elects not to join the CIP program, the software somehow automatically starts phoning back to Autodesk without the user doing anything?That sounds like a huge allegation to me. If this is indeed what you are suggesting then I hope you have sufficient evidence to back your claim.

  • Nick

    I think Mr. Waddington has a particular axe to grind with Autodesk and makes allegations without much proof.
    A person is free to not install an Adsk product if they so wish, however it seems as though Google took it upon themselves to install an extra application the user neither initiated nor desired.
    On a side note- the Google toolbar/desktop search has been known to index everything on your computer and share this information with the Google mothership. This is how some Adsk beta information slipped out last year.

  • Nick

    I think Mr. Waddington has a particular axe to grind with Autodesk and makes allegations without much proof. A person is free to not install an Adsk product if they so wish, however it seems as though Google took it upon themselves to install an extra application the user neither initiated nor desired.On a side note- the Google toolbar/desktop search has been known to index everything on your computer and share this information with the Google mothership. This is how some Adsk beta information slipped out last year.

  • R. Paul Waddington

    “Since a user can turn it on and off, I guess it makes sense to install it anyways,” – NO it does not;

    “instead of asking the user to have him whip out the installation CD every time he wants to use something optional. As a software developer, I know that it isnormal practice to install optional DLLs which can be loaded on demand, whenever the user decides to make use of the functionality in those DLLs.”

    “functionality”????? CIP is not a tool of any use to a user: it is an Autodesk data collection device placed by Autodesk to remove data from a users design/computing system(s), an act that CANNOT be validated!

    “Please explain “it can EASILY be reactivated and transmit data WITHOUT the users knowledge”.
    Are you suggesting that even after a user elects not to join the CIP program, the software somehow automatically starts phoning back to Autodesk without the user doing anything?”

    Nothing happens ‘automatically’ in software, as you are aware, and it is neither what I said or suggested. I said EASILY and it simply means just what it says; and it can happen EASILY in a number of ways.

    “That sounds like a huge allegation to me. If this is indeed what you are suggesting then I hope you have sufficient evidence to back your claim.”

    To suggest it is an allegation is to suggest I have no proof of the potential dangers and problems 🙂 Autodesk (and several government agencies) knowing I do is all that matters.

  • ralphg

    With cloud computing, unwanted features, upgrades, and installs will become the norm.

    In your case, you might have installed software that had a less-than-noticeable option for installing Google’s software — turned on by default, as happens with FireFox.

    Some packages have Express installation, where you don’t see those options. I always choose Custom installation, just to see what’s up.

  • ralphg

    With cloud computing, unwanted features, upgrades, and installs will become the norm.In your case, you might have installed software that had a less-than-noticeable option for installing Google’s software — turned on by default, as happens with FireFox.Some packages have Express installation, where you don’t see those options. I always choose Custom installation, just to see what’s up.

  • R. Paul Waddington

    “I think Mr. Waddington has a particular axe to grind with Autodesk and makes allegations without much proof.” – Un-true on all counts, Nick!

    “A person is free to not install an Adsk product if they so wish,” – This is equally un-true when fully understood.

    “however it seems as though Google took it upon themselves to install an extra application the user neither initiated nor desired.” – I think you will find, if you look more closely, this is unlikely to have happened.

    “On a side note- the Google toolbar/desktop search has been known to index everything on your computer and share this information with the Google mothership. This is how some Adsk beta information slipped out last year.”

    Nick, if we are to believe your statement you have just considerably reinforced my position; thank you.

  • R. Paul Waddington

    “I think Mr. Waddington has a particular axe to grind with Autodesk and makes allegations without much proof.” – Un-true on all counts, Nick! “A person is free to not install an Adsk product if they so wish,” – This is equally un-true when fully understood.“however it seems as though Google took it upon themselves to install an extra application the user neither initiated nor desired.” – I think you will find, if you look more closely, this is unlikely to have happened.“On a side note- the Google toolbar/desktop search has been known to index everything on your computer and share this information with the Google mothership. This is how some Adsk beta information slipped out last year.”Nick, if we are to believe your statement you have just considerably reinforced my position; thank you.

  • Deelip Menezes

    So if I have understood this correctly, Autodesk CIP gets installed whether the user signs up for the program or not, but does not transmit data to Autodesk untill the user willfully turns it on. I have absolutely no problem with that.

    As regards Autodesk not specifying what data is transmitted through CIP, if you do not trust Autodesk, don’t sign up for the program.

    I cannot understand what this fuss is all about.

  • Deelip Menezes

    So if I have understood this correctly, Autodesk CIP gets installed whether the user signs up for the program or not, but does not transmit data to Autodesk untill the user willfully turns it on. I have absolutely no problem with that.As regards Autodesk not specifying what data is transmitted through CIP, if you do not trust Autodesk, don’t sign up for the program.I cannot understand what this fuss is all about.

  • R. Paul Waddington

    😉

  • R. Paul Waddington

    😉

  • Anonymous

    Gladly there is a solution. Use open-source software and Linux.

  • Anonymous

    Gladly there is a solution. Use open-source software and Linux.

  • Anonymous

    please read:
    http://www.autodesk.com/acip/CIP_Privacy_eng.html It quite clear on what CIP collects and how it is used. R. Paul definitely has an ax to grind and does not seem objective to me.

    As to Google. I can not abide when companies install entire applications I did not ask for or was not given an option to refuse. Apple did this with iTunes and Safari and ended up changing their install to appease customers.

  • Anonymous

    please read:http://www.autodesk.com/acip/CIP_Privacy_eng.html It quite clear on what CIP collects and how it is used. R. Paul definitely has an ax to grind and does not seem objective to me.As to Google. I can not abide when companies install entire applications I did not ask for or was not given an option to refuse. Apple did this with iTunes and Safari and ended up changing their install to appease customers.

  • R. Paul Waddington

    “It quite clear on what CIP collects and how it is used. R. Paul definitely has an ax to grind and does not seem objective to me.”

    Normally I would ignore this type of comment but I am, on this occasion, going to respond and what I say may offend. I believe, in topics of this type there is little point discussing the writer in any personal way. The only comments applicable are those that are questions, and or arguments based on knowledge, research and facts.

    This is Deelip’s blog: and whilst he and I do not see ‘eye to eye’ on a number of things I respect his views, learn from what he says, and if he chooses to take down what I say next that will also be respected, as it should.

    Firstly, with regards to CIP; it should be treated with a great deal of suspicion. I have captured ‘data’ generated by CIP. It is considerable and encrypted. Autodesk have been given the opportunity to provide full details on the contents of these files and have declined to do so. For Anonymous to suggest the privacy policy be read, is correct, the problem is Autodesk have been unwilling to validate the contents of the data captured and therefore call into question to the privacy policy statements: after all, all the data has been created on my computer; it is my information not Autodesk’s.

    Now it’s fine to throw bricks at me but understand this; I am self employed and I currently hold two Autodesk subscriptions and there is little to be gained speaking out against a key supplier unless there is good reason to do so.

    I provided users a warning based on fact not guesswork and Autodesk’s handling of my questions only made it worse by ensuring I would look much more closely. If the readers of my comments do not agree, fine, but do some legwork yourself and counter with facts not personal swipes. If you don’t want to accept the warning (fine) and do not have a counter argument based on fact then don’t comment.

    Something else to consider is that I have said more than enough – if I am totally wrong – for Autodesk to take some very serious action; and they have not! The reason they have not is obvious.

    In conclusion, I have no objection to counter arguments based on facts and will change my view if proven incorrect; professionals have names and any person who does not attach their names to personal comments/slights, that have no facts attached, are entirely without credibility; your comments are worthless digital pollution.

    I could have spoken out about Autodesk’s actions using the Anonymous mask and, quite rightly, would have been totally ignored. I chose to act as I have because I believe it is important. Additionally those who have seen the data, I have, do not express the same views as those of you who choose not to look closely and ‘objectively’ at what I have said.

    Anonymous, you research the subject passed reading ‘marketing’ information, make your case and demonstrate, to the world, why you believe I have ‘an ax(e) to grind’ and why I am wrong about CIP!

  • R. Paul Waddington

    “It quite clear on what CIP collects and how it is used. R. Paul definitely has an ax to grind and does not seem objective to me.”Normally I would ignore this type of comment but I am, on this occasion, going to respond and what I say may offend. I believe, in topics of this type there is little point discussing the writer in any personal way. The only comments applicable are those that are questions, and or arguments based on knowledge, research and facts.This is Deelip’s blog: and whilst he and I do not see ‘eye to eye’ on a number of things I respect his views, learn from what he says, and if he chooses to take down what I say next that will also be respected, as it should.Firstly, with regards to CIP; it should be treated with a great deal of suspicion. I have captured ‘data’ generated by CIP. It is considerable and encrypted. Autodesk have been given the opportunity to provide full details on the contents of these files and have declined to do so. For Anonymous to suggest the privacy policy be read, is correct, the problem is Autodesk have been unwilling to validate the contents of the data captured and therefore call into question to the privacy policy statements: after all, all the data has been created on my computer; it is my information not Autodesk’s.Now it’s fine to throw bricks at me but understand this; I am self employed and I currently hold two Autodesk subscriptions and there is little to be gained speaking out against a key supplier unless there is good reason to do so. I provided users a warning based on fact not guesswork and Autodesk’s handling of my questions only made it worse by ensuring I would look much more closely. If the readers of my comments do not agree, fine, but do some legwork yourself and counter with facts not personal swipes. If you don’t want to accept the warning (fine) and do not have a counter argument based on fact then don’t comment.Something else to consider is that I have said more than enough – if I am totally wrong – for Autodesk to take some very serious action; and they have not! The reason they have not is obvious.In conclusion, I have no objection to counter arguments based on facts and will change my view if proven incorrect; professionals have names and any person who does not attach their names to personal comments/slights, that have no facts attached, are entirely without credibility; your comments are worthless digital pollution. I could have spoken out about Autodesk’s actions using the Anonymous mask and, quite rightly, would have been totally ignored. I chose to act as I have because I believe it is important. Additionally those who have seen the data, I have, do not express the same views as those of you who choose not to look closely and ‘objectively’ at what I have said.Anonymous, you research the subject passed reading ‘marketing’ information, make your case and demonstrate, to the world, why you believe I have ‘an ax(e) to grind’ and why I am wrong about CIP!

  • Deelip Menezes

    Paul,

    Your comment will stay. In my opinion, Anonymous didn’t cross the line when criticizing you. I take far more harsh criticizm on this blog and let the comments stay.

  • Deelip Menezes

    Paul,Your comment will stay. In my opinion, Anonymous didn’t cross the line when criticizing you. I take far more harsh criticizm on this blog and let the comments stay.

  • R. Paul Waddington

    “Since a user can turn it on and off, I guess it makes sense to install it anyways,” – NO it does not;

    “instead of asking the user to have him whip out the installation CD every time he wants to use something optional. As a software developer, I know that it isnormal practice to install optional DLLs which can be loaded on demand, whenever the user decides to make use of the functionality in those DLLs.”

    “functionality”????? CIP is not a tool of any use to a user: it is an Autodesk data collection device placed by Autodesk to remove data from a users design/computing system(s), an act that CANNOT be validated!

    “Please explain “it can EASILY be reactivated and transmit data WITHOUT the users knowledge”.
    Are you suggesting that even after a user elects not to join the CIP program, the software somehow automatically starts phoning back to Autodesk without the user doing anything?”

    Nothing happens ‘automatically’ in software, as you are aware, and it is neither what I said or suggested. I said EASILY and it simply means just what it says; and it can happen EASILY in a number of ways.

    “That sounds like a huge allegation to me. If this is indeed what you are suggesting then I hope you have sufficient evidence to back your claim.”

    To suggest it is an allegation is to suggest I have no proof of the potential dangers and problems 🙂 Autodesk (and several government agencies) knowing I do is all that matters.