jmcbain writes: The NY Times is reporting that Microsoft directly aided the arrest of Russian evenvironmental activists. The Baikal Environmental Wave was organizing protests against Prime Minister Vladimir V. Putin's decision to reopen a paper factory that had polluted nearby Lake Baikal. Instead, the group fell victim to one of the authorities' newest tactics for quelling dissent: confiscating computers under the pretext of searching for pirated Microsoft software. As the ploy grows common, the authorities are receiving key assistance from an unexpected partner: Microsoft itself. Baikal Wave, in fact, said it had purchased and installed legal Microsoft software specifically to deny the authorities an excuse to raid them. The group later asked Microsoft for help in fending off the police. "Microsoft did not want to help us, which would have been the right thing to do," said Marina Rikhvanova, a Baikal Environmental Wave co-chairwoman.