We’ve written before how Microsoft's new secure boot feature in Windows 8 could likely be used to shut out competition and create the ultimate in walled garden consumer lock-ins – something that is very undesirable from a competition, price and consumer choice viewpoint. However, it now appears that governments could lean on Microsoft in order to install secret snooping malware on user's PCs. Ross Anderson, professor of Security Engineering at the University of Cambridge Computer Laboratory, has written in the Light Blue Touchpaper blog, about this issue. He starts off by explaining how secure boot could limit the purchase Metro apps to only the official Microsoft app store, saying. "Even if users can opt out, most of them won't. That's a lot of firms suddenly finding Steve Ballmer's boot on their jugular." That sounds very well put and really doesn't paint a pretty picture, does it? It's exactly the same tactic as all these firms that require you to opt out of receiving their junk mail, toolbars etc when installing software, knowing full well that the majority won't. However, this control can turn from monopolistic to sinister, because governments could potentially lean on Microsoft to give them an official key in order to install malware on user's PC's, which could be next to impossible to remove. The particular example he gives is that of Tubitak, the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey, saying that he has removed their key from his web browser, but how would he identify all foreign governments' keys? Sounds nasty, doesn't it? This isn’t something that anyone should want on their computer. Anderson has also written an 8-page paper (PDF) entitled "Can We Fix the Security Economics of Federated Authentication?" which covers this problem in great detail. The Free Software Foundation has also also started a petition against secure boot, which people are encouraged to sign.