Re: Offensive, sure, but is it actually HARMFUL?
Many thanks for sharing your perspective, Kiwi. You raise some very good points.
I thought I would try to wait a goodly while before replying to you, in the hope that others might weigh in as well, but it's beginning to look like you may be the only one.
"IIRC there was something not to[o] long ago about a 'new' word document containing data from documents worked on in that session?"
I could be mistaken, but hasn't WinWord been doing that for at least 20 years now? (Don't know whether Word for DOS did it too.) I'm pretty sure I remember doing some DOS comparisons ("FC /T") of Word documents that were supposed to be identical, and being astonished by how they were not. Or else bit-wise comparisons of same in the file viewing pane that was included in PC Tools for Windows. In either event, I recognized the extraneous text — having written it myself — that apparently was being used as filler material, for no other purpose than to make the file larger, but wondered what the Hell it was doing in a different document, and how the Hell it had gotten there!
More broadly, your points about the dangers of memory dumps/snapshots, and the imperfection of past "anonymising" efforts (assuming they really tried!), are all well-taken. Even when dealing with a vendor of absolutely trustworthy intentions, things can go wrong, and can go much farther than one intended or expected. Plus I keep reminding myself how the sneaky way Microsoft foisted these updates on me/us pretty-well proves their bad faith, ill will, and lack of trustworthiness.
(Thus my choice of posting icon.)
At one point my tentative position was that if they had had the decency to disclose and ask up-front, I might well have been willing to say Yes to sharing my data with them, but since they instead were such sneaky bastards, I would not. But the thrust of your reply is that even if they had asked first and asked nicely, and behaved in an entirely reputable fashion worthy of my trust, it still would have been a mistake on my part to provide that much data, no matter how badly I might want to help Microsoft improve its buggy products!