Microsoft changes policy: won't read your Hotmail anymore to track down copyright infringement or theft without a court order


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So they’ll just read your email to see if you’re leaking screenshots?<./a>


[C]hange your terms of service so that you promise not to read your customers’ email without a court order. Then, if you think there’s a situation that warrants invading your customers’ privacy, get a court order. This is just basic rule-of-law stuff, and it’s the kind of thing you’d hope Microsoft’s General Counsel would find obvious.

No, it’s not really “basic rule-of-law stuff.” I mean. in what sense is it basic rule-of-law stuff? Is Microsoft failing to follow federal or state law? Are they failing to follow their own terms and conditions?

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Recommendations for a secure email service anyone??

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The only secure email service is using encryption on all your email, linking to burned-after-reading web pages on the tor network, and hosted on a server you actually control. Also the server is suspended over a pit of acid, ready to drop if the dead man’s switch disengaged.


By the way, Cory, did you invent the word “scroogled”, or did it exist before you wrote your short story?

It’s the actual MS campaign name. - I don’t know if they invented it or not, but it was certainly around before this. It’s a little cringeworthy, but the root is pretty clear that Google relies very heavily on intense data harvesting.

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So you’re saying that there is someone on Earth who both cares about internet security/privacy and uses Hotmail?


I signed up for gmail back when it was invite only - it was always apparent that you got 1gb storage (huge at the time, when Hotmail was something like 25mb) but the trade off was they’d scan your emails for keywords and have ads targeted at you accordingly.

You may have issue with that, but it’s never been hidden. MS’ campaign is a little on the nose as a result.


Scroogle was a Google-scraping service which anonymised searches; I used it as my home page for a long while, until it died as described in the reference above. It started in 2003; Cory’s story dates from 2007, according to my minimal research.


Good luck trying to get a court to issue a warrant in this case. Microsoft was the victim of an alleged criminal act and they have access to the evidence. Why would the court bother issuing a warrant if the victim won’t cooperate?

I’m always a bit baffled by the people freaking out over Google letting an algorithm run around your e-mail, or the bowl clenching terror that people seem to have of targeted advertisement. They are not selling information on you, they are just noticing that user X looks like a single nerd and so is probably going to be more likely to click on an ad for a book than one for a mortgage. I’ll take an ad for a book I want to read over an ad with a dancing baby trying to sell me mortgage any day of the week.

The only truly scary thing about Google collecting that sort of data is that the government can turn around and steal it. As we have seen, there is no defense against that. As Lavabit showed us, the government can make you install a black box, and which point you have the choice of shutting down or being the governments bitch.


People use Hotmail?
People who leak MS software use MS email to do the leaking?
People are idiots.

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That’s not how warrants and court orders work. Warrants are issued to law enforcement or the government based on probable cause. Cooperation isn’t the issue. Microsoft doesn’t seek permission for a warrant in criminal cases, the government does. Court orders to disclose or mandating specific performance are also not issued based on willingness to cooperate. If Microsoft is a plaintiff in a civil case, they file suit and have the courts give them access to the information as part of discovery. That’s presuming that the court hasn’t already compelled the other party to surrender that information. If the person they’re suing is a John Doe and they want the court to give them access to ascertain the person’s identity, the court can do that as well. Courts don’t look at someone with a valid contract and say, “We’re not going to issue an order, breach your contract and then we’ll talk.”

Backlash against bulk spying hurts companies like Microsoft. I think this latest issue is an opportunity for M$ to say we’re not (any more) like those bad spying people, so you can trust us.

Print them out and mail them.

Oh, a giant corporation said they won’t do something. OK, we’re cool then.

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Meh… it was in their TOS. Those hotmail users agreed to the TOS. Yet another reason to avoid MS products - particularly if you’re stealing MS stuff. The thing you’ve linked to was the specific instance that make them change the rules as their idiotic “Scroogled” campaign began to come unwound.

bwv … is this … the first time we’ve agreed on something?


Given the sheer quantity of channels Google have available it is a little worrying. They can read your email, watch your videos, listen to your music, monitor your shopping habits, access your friends.

It’s not a massive leap to assume that over the years of use they’ve noticed that when you listen to X artist you’re more likely to purchase Y item. That they’ve tied certain keywords in emails to viewing habits on YouTube. That they’re constructing an elaborate web of not only your viewing habits but the mood and emotional state behind them.

They can now craft the most elaborate, targeted campaign EVER.

You fire up your email and Google surreptitiously injects/rewords a couple lines to trigger a visit to youtube. Once there they promote a couple of videos for you to peruse, the soundtracks to these videos (combined with the content and previous emails) put you in the mood for a little retail therapy. What’s that on the side there? An advert for an item that you really would like to have! You click. You purchase. Done.

It needn’t be as complex as the above, simply weighting the “random” function of Google Play so it makes you feel depressed/upbeat/whatever wouldn’t be that hard given the cross-channel data collection they’re carrying out.

Hypothetical? Indeed. Impossible? No. Anything to do with the article? Also no.