UK network managers have reacted with fury to controversial legislation that will give software vendors the power to remotely terminate vital business software.
The row was sparked when the Business Software Alliance (BSA), the group of vendors including Microsoft, Lotus, IBM and Network Associates, announced it was due to meet last week to discuss the Uniform Computer Information Transactions Act. The proposed US legislation will allow vendors to shut down software remotely, via the internet, if they suspect licence conditions have been breached.
Martin Brampton, chief analyst at Bloor Research, said: "Software vendors are agitating to be able to pull the plug without getting a court order."
The US legislation was passed at federal level this August, but if the BSA succeeds and it is endorsed by Congress, UK users running US software will also be affected. The move could help resellers because it deters piracy but woe betide the reseller whose innocent customers are suspected and lose their software under the law.
The proposal was also condemned by Simon Moores, chairman of the Lotus User Group: "I violently object to the idea. It's like giving the BBC the ability to confiscate your television if it suspects you haven't paid your licence."
Network managers at London City Airport and Nationwide Building Society agreed that the move raises security issues as to how it would be achieved.
One said: "You are giving out access to the core elements of your system. It's just like putting a gun to your head - it gives all control of the software to the vendor."
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