Wednesday, February 19, 2003

TurboTax copy protection mucks with sectors on your hard disk

DRM is getting even more annoying, dangerous, and insidious. Intuit thought that it would be necessary to utilize a product called SafeCast to prevent unauthorized copying of its popular TurboTax product. Extremetech did some testing and found that SafeCast copy (not copyright) protection relied on modifying sector 33 on your hard drive outside of your operating system. This is not necessarily a Good Thing ™

TurboTax Test Results Part II

What to do now? Should you use TurboTax or switch to a competitor's product? Well, Intuit has been listening to the complaints and have offered some concessions, including assurance that a version of TurboTax that won't require "activation" to utilize will be released after October 2003, allowing SafeCast to be uninstalled when TurboTax is uninstalled.
TurboTax: So What Do I Do Now?

Timeline of the problems and Intuit's response Most interesting here was this note that "Analysts sharply question Intuit about TurboTax product activation." when they reported their quarterly results on February 13.

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