We have received the following feedback to the HP Pavilion Spyware Report published here:
Reading that article at gank.com makes me think that you're just trying to push some anti hp propaganda as I have never seen any unusual traffic generated by any of the special purpose keyboard drivers with or without zonealarm present.
The part that really gets me is how you claim that by deleting mmkeybd.exe (I believe that's the file mentioned in your article), you will have a keyboard-less pc. That's utter bull$@*t because you don't need any drivers to run a keyboard on a pc. The drivers such as mmkeybd are necessary to use the special buttons. Basic keys will still work regardless if those drivers are loaded or not. Under plain vanilla dos, for example, keyboards are fully active without the use of any special tsrs.
Besides, i've accidently deleted those files before and could use my keyboard fine under windows and dos. Perhaps you should fix your article so it doesn't mislead people like that.
The rest of the article is probably true with newer special purpose keyboard drivers for the hp multimedia keyboards. I bought my computer back in 99 so perhaps they didn't implement this yet at the time. Most likely it is not spyware and it suppose to do what the hp techs says and that is ping the isp to determine whether or not you're connected. Perhaps with an always on internet connection this is necessary unlike with dialup as I have. Maybe that's also why I don't have any weird activity coming out of my keyboard drivers. Perhaps it's just because i'm using a dialup connection which doesn't require any kind of pinging on it's part. it may also be because i didn't select any of the predefined internet providers included with my pc that are suppose to take special advantage of the keyboard's multimedia buttons.
Oh yeah, one more thing...
even with mmkeybd being deleted, you can STILL control the volume.. where do you get the idea that you can't? there's a little app called volume controls or master volume (sndvol32.exe). it's usually in the task bar.
if you can't control it this way well usually cd audio software and games have volume controls in them as well. the only inconvenience with not being able to control the volume through the keyboard is you can't do it on the fly by turning the knob (in my case). you would have to click/key around the old fashion way that people have been doing for ages to get to the controls within the software application/game.
Thanks for your feedback and the tips. I did not know that the keyboard will work without the driver.
Up until this time, I did not have anything against HP. But I do have an anti-spyware agenda.
I am not comfortable with HP selling me a computer system that uses the internet to "phone home" every minute. This all happens behind the scenes and HP does not disclose this monitoring to their customers. For these reasons, I consider HP's keyboard to be spyware.
By the way why do you think that a keyboard that sends data back to a computer manufacturer is not spyware? I do not mean to ask this in a belligerent tone. I sincerely would like to know your definition of spyware.
I thought most people would be just as uncomfortable with this scenario as I was. That is why I published the information on gank.com to get the word out. My dialog with HP customer support was that they did not care and thought it no big deal. It matters enough to me that I would not have purchased the computer had I known HP performs this data collection and monitoring activity.
At the very least these constant and repeated pings slow down my network connection. And while I appreciate your tips on how to work around this, why should I spend the time doing all this? And does the average computer user know how to do all the things you mention?
I think spyware is wrong and HP has no business collecting and monitoring my computer activity. I think they are even more wrong when I pay my good money for a HP computer and they pull something like this without my knowledge. Like I said before, HP will not get my money again for computer equipment. I simply do not trust them and any other company that deploys spyware technology without my knowledge or consent.
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