Among the bulleted apple-pie goals on the DCU's home page are to:
- Protect children from technology-facilitated crimes
- Champion a healthy Internet marketplace for advertisers and businesses
It's hard to object to anyone taking down a botnet, especially if it's done with some respect for laws and legal procedures, as these appear to have done.
The self-inflating comic-book rhetoric of the blogs and announcements makes me suspicious, though.
The description above makes it sounds as if participants in Project Mars are major law enforcement agencies forming a first-ever alliance to attack a new form of crime.
In fact, they're just different departments at Microsoft, all of whom probably work on the same campus in Redmond and can be assigned, reassigned or defunded on the whim of their managers and state of Microsoft's financial statement, not the level of crime or will-of-the-people excuse real law-enforcement types use to explain their decisions.
Microsoft's corporate instincts owe little to the rights of end users, however. Its suggestion that PCs infected with malware be kicked off the Internet like lepers exiled to some island colony wasn't the most humanitarian response to the problem, for example.
Its historically adversarial, almost antagonistic approach to piracy that assumes customers are offenders unless proven otherwise raises another red flag that it might not be as sensitive or responsive to the rights of customers as it is to nailing what it perceives as a perpetrator.
Again, it's hard to object to anything that effectively combats malware and botnets without stepping on the rights of end users.
I just look at officious enthusiasm like Microsoft's with more caution than optimism.