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
Emerging world drives cheap smartphone boom
Phone and Internet firms are rolling out cheaper handsets and may turn to hot-air balloons to boost network coverage in developing countries, where sales of smartphones are booming....
Facebook fends off telecom firms
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg on Monday fended off complaints that the hugely popular social network was getting a free ride out of telecom operators who host its service on smartphones....
Google backflips on Blogger sexual content ban
Days after announcing a ban on sexually explicit content or "graphic nudity" on its Blogger platform, Google has reversed course....
Spacewalk to go ahead on Sunday despite helmet leak
Two US astronauts will go ahead with a spacewalk this weekend despite a flaw in one of the spacesuits that allowed water to seep into the helmet, the US space agency NASA has said....
Sky-scanning instrument finds new galaxies
A new instrument on Europe's Very Large Telescope (VLT) has produced the most detailed 3-D view yet of the deep Universe....
Google unveils reorganization in Europe
Google said Wednesday it was launching a reorganization of its European operations in the face of a tougher regulatory environment....
Is KCCA doing enough to curb poor hygeine?
Yes
No
Can't Say
follow us
subscribe to our news letter