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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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  • inject (Score:5, Interesting)

    by cirrustelecom ( 1353617 ) on Friday March 28, 2014 @04:49PM (#46606145)
    If Microsoft could read, couldn't they also inject crafted evidence into his account? Might be a nice way to take down opposition...
  • That's Nice (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Greyfox ( 87712 ) on Friday March 28, 2014 @05:32PM (#46606477) Homepage Journal
    How about they build an encryption API right into their service? Encrypt the message locally before it ever goes to the network. Oh, they don't want to do that. I see. So Microsoft promises to not read your mail, while retaining the ability to easily do so whenever it's convenient for them. That makes me feel so much better.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 28, 2014 @07:34PM (#46607191)

    but seriously, do you think the other majors are much better? There is anecdotal evidence galore that most IT companies cooperated to a greater or lesser degree, with the NSA, law enforcement, and so forth. Also that they use/used their technical capabilities to investigate whenever and wherever they have had a concern.

    Brad Smith at least sounds like a human being and not someone reading a prepared statement. And he's moving in the direction we all say we want. While I agree that we need to watch for implementation of these statements, I don't think we should reject the statements themselves. That's just cutting off our noses to spit our faces.

    Reward good behaviour and punish the bad. That's just basic psychology. And for those who think that MS is simply evil, I believe they turn their backs on changing the behaviour of a major IT player. Not to mention degrading the meaning of the word evil.

  • Re:Translation: (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 28, 2014 @07:51PM (#46607267)

    Well, you have to admit that MS has a record of having rather good ideas

    I have to admit no such thing.

    In the 25 years I've been in the industry, Microsoft has primarily stolen other people's ideas.

    The ideas they come up with on their own (like the house of the future) are mostly crap nobody wants.

    So, what examples of 'good idea's coming out of Microsoft can you provide? Because I don't believe you.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 28, 2014 @08:11PM (#46607337)

    I had similar happen back in 2010 when a would-be employer called back and started threatening me about legal ramifications about sending them malware, and send me a $7000 "cleaning" invoice from Geek Squad.

    Further discussion found that the HR person thought the ribbon icon that shows a signed E-mail was malware that seized his machine, so the company called GS to have every computer in the business "fixed".

Never tell people how to do things. Tell them WHAT to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity. -- Gen. George S. Patton, Jr.