Piracy vs Privacy and the Ethics of Telemetry

Hello All,

I usually Keep my eyes on the Task Manager, trying to find any suspicious activity or resource hogging process and I found this executable that cannot be easily removed, It is a data collection tool from Autodesk that keeps running in the background. even worse, I have Revit 2020 and 2022 and each version installs a separate tool in a separate folder so I have duplicate processes running in the background.

Autodesk promises that the tool will be Automatically removed 2 weeks after uninstalling the software,
Solved: Genuine Service - How to uninstall it? (I moved to a different machine) - Autodesk Community - Subscription, Installation and Licensing

I started feeling that some companies are taking their Anti-Piracy to the extreme by installing spyware on their customers machines and this is an Ethical question to ask. oh, and don’t get me started in the “Customer Improvement Program”. Is it the time when 10% of My CPU is working hard to send my personal information to other companies?

Sorry I need some beer.

Back in the days when I used to use dongled CAM programs, some of the programs would “phone home” every five minutes or so to make sure your license was legit. But in those days large-scale data collection was not really an issue.

These days, it doesn’t surprise me at all the companies like Autodesk are siphoning off as much personal data as they can get away with and of course continuously watching to see that your license is always legit. They probably also make it so that the program won’t even run if it can’t phone home - which is what already started to happen in the old days and is almost universal these days with online license management. McNeel at least still allows you to do completely offline installations if you so desire.

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What concerns me is that there are multiple processes running in the background, probably each tool reports to a separate Department within the company! this is on top of every project within our company is hosted on BIM360,

They got everything they wanted; they don’t have an excuse for buggy software. Right?

Well, I’m always leery of your online data storage on someone else’s servers… to me you have lost control over your data.

Case in point - totally unrelated to CAD, but very real and it happened here just a couple of weeks ago. An provider of online accounting software had one of their servers cyberattacked and went out of service. Somewhere around 45,000 Swiss users of this online accounting software suddenly had no access to their accounts or any of their data. A couple of weeks later, it still hasn’t been completely fixed. Apparently the data is safe and recoverable, so no permanent damage, but it could have been much worse.

A funny corollary to this - which does have to do with Rhino actually - is that yesterday a client called and said he couldn’t start Rhino anymore on two of his computers. We tried a whole bunch of things to fix it and nothing worked. I asked him “Did you have any windows updates or anything else that got installed before this started happening?” He thought for awhile and then said, yeah, I had this online accounting software (the one mentioned above) and the provider sent me a thing to install to get it temporarily working again. Something called “Citrix”… :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

That of course rung a bell with the posts I read on the forum here, I told him to temporarily uninstall Citrix and presto, Rhino started working again.

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The Pandemic and Remote work gave them a huge edge when it comes to cloud storage. My physical therapist had a cyberattack as well, he was worried that some of his client’s data “Tech CEOs” might be leaked. hopefully he can sleep peacefully those days.

Here in the USA, the postal service was hacked a few years ago, which exposed our addresses and banking info. so, I think Online safety is being compromised but the idea of Extreme Telemetry fascinates me.

Another concern, imagine these background processes consume 10% of your CPU, can be translated to that you are paying $50 to $100 for companies to mine your data. assuming you are running a $500-$1000 CPU!

You can just disable the autodesk services to never run :slight_smile:

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Not really. Later versions of Autodesk products will detect if AGS is running. You would need to modify AGS program to bypass that check.

Services from the older versions, that is.


I just used Group policy editor to restrict these services from running. I get multiple locations for the executables, one in the programdata, other in CommonFiles/ Autodesk Shared and the other one is under user’s roaming folder.

Now they are silent! 2022 products are running fine without AGS.


upgraded to 2024 and more tracking executables are being added:

one time trying to use one of the ones you are probably talking about on my new machine with no parallel port, I found that rainbow had a sentinel “server” program, and I could serve the license from an older machine that actually still had a parallel port

that was when I learned that the program pinged the dongle every time it painted the viewport :man_facepalming: