Science & technology
Microsoft stops probing Hotmail to 'plug leaks'Publish Date: Mar 31, 2014
Microsoft stops probing Hotmail to 'plug leaks'
  • mail
  • img
Microsofts Hotmail
newvision

SAN FRANCISCO,  - Microsoft on Friday scrapped a policy which allowed it to peek at Hotmail messages to plug leaks or investigate intellectual property theft.

The change came after news broke last week that the US technology titan peered into the account of a French blogger who had gotten hold of inside information about Windows software in 2012.

While the tactic seemed unsavory, it was deemed legal because Microsoft terms of service grant permission for the company to access or disclose information about a user to protect its "rights or property."

"Effective immediately, if we receive information indicating that someone is using our services to traffic in stolen intellectual or physical property from Microsoft, we will not inspect a customer's private content ourselves," Microsoft general counsel Brad Smith said in a blog post.

"Instead, we will refer the matter to law enforcement if further action is required."

Microsoft will be changing its terms of service in the coming months to be in line with the policy change, according to Smith.

He described the leak probe as an investigation into someone "trafficking in stolen Microsoft source code."

The criticism heaped on Microsoft came at a time when online privacy concerns are a sensitive issue given revelations by US intelligence service contractor Edward Snowden of widespread government snooping on Internet communications.

"In part we have thought more about this in the context of other privacy issues that have been so topical during the past year, " Smith said.

"We've entered a 'post-Snowden era' in which people rightly focus on the ways others use their personal information."

Microsoft is among the Internet giants calling on the US government to be more transparent about information it seeks from technology firms.

"While the search was clearly within our legal rights, it seems apparent that we should apply a similar principle and rely on formal legal processes for our own investigations involving people who we suspect are stealing from us," Smith said.

Snowden, wanted on espionage charges in the United States, has been given asylum in Russia.

AFP

The statements, comments, or opinions expressed through the use of New Vision Online are those of their respective authors, who are solely responsible for them, and do not necessarily represent the views held by the staff and management of New Vision Online.

New Vision Online reserves the right to moderate, publish or delete a post without warning or consultation with the author.Find out why we moderate comments. For any questions please contact digital@newvision.co.ug

  • mail
  • img
blog comments powered by Disqus
Also In This Section
Apple profit climbs along with iPhone sales
Apple has reported that its quarterly profit has climbed with strong iPhone demand, but a decline in iPad tablet sales has put a damper on its results....
Yahoo builds mobile muscle with Flurry buy
Yahoo continued its quest for renewed relevance with the purchase of a startup specializing in analyzing and making money from mobile applications....
China Internet population reaches 632 million
China is now home to 632 million Internet users, a government agency said Monday, although use of social networks has dropped amid a crackdown....
ABB, Volvo reveal tie-up on fast-recharge electric buses
Electric buses which can recharge their batteries fast when at bus stops are to be developed by Swiss-Swedish engineering group ABB and Volvo Buses of Sweden...
Finland cashes in on cold by luring data storage firms
With freezing winters where the mercury can sink well below zero and cool summers, Finland will never be a destination of choice for the world''s sun-seekers....
Amazon launches unlimited e-book subscription plan
US online giant Amazon unveiled a Netflix-style subscription plan Friday for unlimited access to e-books, a move which could shake up the world of publishing....
With the recent increase of the HIV prevelance rate, Is Uganda losing the fight against the disease?
Yes
No
Can't Say
follow us
subscribe to our news letter