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Microsoft Corp Pledges Never to Breach Email Customer Privacy Again


Microsoft Corp yesterday promised not to snoop again into any user’s email. The giant technology firm said its new protocol would be to refer the email account to corresponding law enforcement agencies if there are suspicions that its user is committing foul play.

Obviously, the company was trying to wash its hands after a controversy broke out about its approach in obtaining evidence in a recent Windows 8 leakage case. Brad Smith, its general counsel, made the announcement about Microsoft’s new customer privacy policy through a blog post.

The lawyer said that the company will cease to inspect emails of users who are suspected of stealing physical or intellectual property from Microsoft. If further action is required in a probe, he said the company would rather forward the matter to law enforcers.

He added that this change is effective immediately. The provisions of the policy modification will also be reflected soon in the terms of service for the customers. Mr. Smith said this would make it clearer to their customers and more legally binding to Microsoft.

Recent controversy

Microsoft was put under fire because of the way it handled the case against a former employee named Alex Kibkalo. The ex-employee was suspected of stealing Windows 8 documents before the operating system was released and giving the information to a French blogger.

When the case pushed through, many were surprised at how Microsoft tried to extract evidences for the case. Redmond admitted that it snooped into the French blogger’s email account in Hotmail. That deed was helpful in identifying Mr. Kibkalo.

Trying to undo mistakes

However, as expected, that measure boomeranged and got back at Microsoft. Many customer advocates now question how the company treats the users of its free Web messaging service Hotmail. Microsoft last week defended itself by saying that what it did was necessary. It also pointed out that it is stipulated in the terms and conditions for users that Hotmail and Microsoft reserve the right to probe into email accounts, if the users/owners are suspected of breaching specific security measures in handling cases.

Microsoft said it is currently reaching out to more privacy advocates to advance its humanitarian activities and projects. It is now cooperating with the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and the Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT). 

About Jasmin Harper

Jasmin Harper covers tech and gaming news.
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