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Microsoft Privacy

Microsoft Promises Not To Snoop Through Email 144

An anonymous reader writes "Microsoft took some much-deserved flack last week for admitting they examined the emails of a Hotmail user who received some leaked Windows 8 code. The company defended their actions at the time. Now, after hearing the backlash, Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith says they will not do so in the future. Instead, they'll refer it to law enforcement. He wrote, 'It's always uncomfortable to listen to criticism. But if one can step back a bit, it's often thought-provoking and even helpful. That was definitely the case for us over the past week. Although our terms of service, like those of others in our industry, allowed us to access lawfully the account in this case, the circumstances raised legitimate questions about the privacy interests of our customers. ...As a company we've participated actively in the public discussions about the proper balance between the privacy rights of citizens and the powers of government. We've advocated that governments should rely on formal legal processes and the rule of law for surveillance activities. While our own 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.'"
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Microsoft Promises Not To Snoop Through Email

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  • Translation: (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 28, 2014 @04:42PM (#46606065)

    Translation: "Sorry we got caught. We'll be more careful to not get caught next time."

  • Scroogled (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Ultra64 ( 318705 ) on Friday March 28, 2014 @04:45PM (#46606101)

    Wasn't scaremongering about Google reading your email part of their stupid ad campaign?

  • Re:If they say so (Score:5, Insightful)

    by khasim ( 1285 ) <> on Friday March 28, 2014 @04:49PM (#46606155)

    I'm not!

    He wrote, "It's always uncomfortable to listen to criticism. But if one can step back a bit, it's often thought-provoking and even helpful."

    "thought-provoking"? How was it even a question?

    If they had a problem seeing the problem in the first place then I don't trust them to see the problem in the future.

  • Re:Translation: (Score:4, Insightful)

    by asmkm22 ( 1902712 ) on Friday March 28, 2014 @05:23PM (#46606397)

    Next time, they'll just snoop through the email and, when they have all the evidence they need, they'll forward it to the law enforcement with details on "possible suspects" that can be used to request search warrants for...

  • Re:Translation: (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Friday March 28, 2014 @06:09PM (#46606723)

    Well, you have to admit that MS has a record of having rather good ideas that eventually fall on the face by poor to nonexistent implementation. Don't chalk up to malice what can sufficiently be explained by incompetence.

  • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Friday March 28, 2014 @06:28PM (#46606871)

    No, it's exactly the point. Because how many mail folders did they go through before finding the "right" one? Do you think if they did that we'd ever hear about just how many mailboxes they opened without the consent of the content owner and violated their privacy? Do you think it's ok that a company (not even a government, but a mere, ordinary COMPANY) should get away with digging through your emails at a hunch? We think you might have done something we don't like, so we simply dig through your belongings, to hell with your privacy, to hell with how you feel about some strangers digging through your stuff, we do what we WANNA.

    What's next? Your landlord opening your home with a key he retained because he heard a rumor that you might have gotten visits from a drug dealer, so he simply marches over at 6am, opens your door, digs through your clothing and your sex tox collection then shrugs when he doesn't find anything and goes without even a "whoopsie, sorry"?

    That's ok, too, I guess?

  • Re:Translation: (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Wootery ( 1087023 ) on Saturday March 29, 2014 @06:53AM (#46608849)

    Seconded. As I understand it, Microsoft have promised not to sue anyone if they implement the published standard Common Language Infrastructure stuff. Mono has implemented this and more: they've implemented the WinForms GUI API, which is not covered by Microsoft's promise [].

    Despite this, Microsoft still haven't sued Mono. In this particular instance, I can't see a way to paint Microsoft as the bad guy.

In seeking the unattainable, simplicity only gets in the way. -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982