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Microsoft beefs up its email privacy policy

Posted April 3, 2014
 Microsoft has beefed-up its email privacy policy following March 20th incident wherein “Alex Kibkalo” an ex-Microsoft employee, who was senior architect at Microsoft, was arrested for allegedly stealing Windows-related trade secrets while working for Microsoft. Microsoft has come under heavy fire for allegedly searching a customer’s email account to investigate a software leak, and the company at first promised to show evidence to an external attorney before it snooped users’ online accounts.

In order cool down the hot discussion regarding searching a customer’s email account Microsoft said that, it will turn to law enforcement before it proceeds to read user emails in the future. In a blog postBrad Smith
General Counsel & Executive Vice President, Legal & Corporate Affairs, Microsoft said that, “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. Instead, we will refer the matter to law enforcement if further action is required.

Smith further said, “in addition to changing company policy, in the coming months we will incorporate this change in our customer terms of service, so that it’s clear to consumers and binding on Microsoft.”He also noted that, “We’ve entered a “post-Snowden era” in which people rightly focus on the ways others use their personal information. 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.”

The issue was highlighted when leaked Windows 8 code by Alex Kibkalo was suspected by Microsoft to be retained by a blogger in his Hotmail account, prior to OS launch back in 2012. Meanwhile Smith clarified the stance of Microsoft with respect to searching the blogger’s mail account stating “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. Therefore, rather than inspect the private content of customers ourselves in these instances, we should turn to law enforcement and their legal procedures.”

 via BC

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