Science & technology
Microsoft stops probing Hotmail to 'plug leaks'
Publish Date: Mar 31, 2014
Microsoft stops probing Hotmail to 'plug leaks'
Microsofts Hotmail
  • mail
  • img
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
Nintendo logs $132 million first-half net profit
Japanese videogame giant Nintendo said Wednesday its first-half net profit soared to $132 million as a sharply weaker yen boosted its bottom line and offset slowing sales....
Mobile app helps track Ebola epidemic
A new mobile telephone based mapping service has been created in a bid to track Ebola and better help communities hit by the virus in west Africa, developers said Monday....
Scientists revive giant virus from 30,000-year-old Siberian permafrost
French and Russian researchers have revived a 30,000-year-old living virus from deep below the frozen Siberian tundra...
Orbital rocket explodes after launch
An unmanned rocket explodes in a giant fireball and plummets back to Earth just seconds after launch....
Facebook shares dive as social network eyes future
Facebook Tuesday reported its quarterly profit nearly doubled but saw its stock pounded after outlining a plan to invest heavily in the future instead of revelling in short-term riches....
IBM offers analytics platform for Ebola fight
IBM announced Monday it would offer its analytics platform and other technology for use in African countries affected by the Ebola outbreak....
Should the absence of bride price prevent couples from wedding?
Yes
No
Can't Say
follow us
subscribe to our news letter