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There has been a curious lack off outrage at Microsoft’s announcement that it will launch a “mandatory upgrade” of Windows Live Messenger (mid-Sept.for Messenger 8.1 or 8.5 and late Oct. for 14.0). The point is to make fixes necessary because of vulnerabilities in the Microsoft Active Template Library. Microsoft tried to fix those in July in Internet Explorer and Visual Studio and in the August patch cycle fixed five more vulnerable apps.

The “net freedom” ethos (anarchy?) has always been widespread, but recently it’s even gone one step further with political parties forming up in Europe that advocate the freedom to steal music and software (oh, sorry, “copyright reform”) as the centerpiece of their platforms. “Pirate” party? Do they know what real seagoing pirates actually do?

Microsoft did a masterful job phasing in the changes over the next few months, encouraging voluntary upgrades and dazzling users with cool new features: “Add a profile picture or video, display a personal scene in the chat window, update the status message with your news, add a favorite link, or add what song you’re listening to.”

“And Photo sharing. Photo sharing lets you share and comment on pictures while you’re chatting.”

Are “mandatory upgrades” the next big thing in computer security? It’s not a bad idea given that a vast amount of malware lives and propagates worldwide on the unpatched PCs of Typhoid Marys who never update anything.

Microsoft notice here.

Tom Kelchner