Per BetaNews today, Microsoft has admitted that its Windows Genuine Advantage program, which is supposed to sniff out counterfeit copies of Windows, is actually phoning home every day, even after it's determined whether you're running a legit version of the OS. And in case you're wondering, no, Microsoft didn't tell anyone that WGA was checking in with the mothership, even though the software is a mandatory installation for anyone who wants to use Windows Update. After rumors surfaced on the Net about the connections, Microsoft confirmed that the software makes the daily call as a "safety switch," so that the company can turn off the program if it needs to. (Riiighht.) Meanwhile, Joe Wilcox of Jupiter Research goes on at length about the evil tactics Microsoft's been using lately in beta software--installing WGA without permission along with OneCare, requiring you to participate in the Customer Experience program if you're using WMP 11, and opting you in to contextual ads and keywords in your Windows Live mail. You know, just in case you'd been feeling a little complacent about the Empire lately.