As I’ve written about in the past, the media is terrible with regard to technology. It would be fine if they were ignorant, but spreading it is the problem. There’s always misinformation abound, and throw in some Fox News and you’ve really got yourself something.
You’d think they were juggling chainsaws with the disclosures on this. DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME. Congratulations, it’s your first time reading an End-User License Agreement (EULA). In case you didn’t know already, EULAs are always ridiculous. The Chrome EULA originally listed everything you did on the Internet as property of Google. Everything you post on Facebook is property of Facebook. Everything you do anywhere is property of Company X. It’s in nearly every piece of software you’ve ever used.
On the technical end, this specific instance is meaningless. It states that they have full access, but no, they do not have full access. Despite fear-monger central, there isn’t a secret backdoor that lets the evil computer people monitor everything you ever do and all of your files. While there are a disconcertingly high number of unpatched and improperly secured Windows machines out there, it’s not a simply just going through the list of logged in users and taking a peek at their harddrives.
And guess what, no, in general, it’s not really considered legal. The general agreement is that the nature of EULAs are unenforceable and would not stand up in court, though precedence is lacking.