Microsoft: We have the right to search your Hotmail account

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boasist

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Uhhh, you are using a free service provided by someone other than yourself. You should never think that your information that passes through that service isn't subject to investigation at any time.
 

neo158

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Uhhh, you are using a free service provided by someone other than yourself. You should never think that your information that passes through that service isn't subject to investigation at any time.

It may be a free service but unless there is evidence of wrongdoing, in this case there was, then email should be private.

Are you saying that if you pay for your email service it's more secure?
 
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As someone who worked on a team at MS that had to perform similar tasks from time to time (not for e-mail though) I have a somewhat unique ability to know how this all works.

It is something that is actually handled very carefully, and with a lot of consideration put into it. Even extremely justified requests are handled very delicately.

You might be surprised that we are just regular humans like everyone else. :p
 
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herbertsnow

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Is this hypocrisy in light of the Scroogled campaign or justified in light of the situation? Under what kind of circumstances should a corporation be allowed to do things like this without a court order? Even the NSA needs permission from the DOJ to gather info on suspects. Opinions?

Microsoft: We have the right to search your Hotmail account (updated)

EDIT: I guess I need to make a couple of things a little more clear. What I was mainly trying to accomplish with this post was to play devil's advocate and foster an important discussion. Do I personally think Microsoft was justified? For the most part, yes. Richard Hay of Windows Observer wrote a very good and relatively fair take on the situation here: Microsoft neither Scroogled nor violated privacy issues in their search of leakers Hotmail account | WindowsObserver.com

But I do think this is still a topic worthy of discussion as I believe it raises another important question regarding privacy - Just because it is in the TOS of the email host, does that alone make it right or legal, even given the circumstances? The reason I bring that up is because consent is given in Goggle's TOS for them to use an algorithm to scan a user's email for keywords in order to target advertising, yet they are still facing a class action suit based on that practice. Thinking about that also led me to this thought - Is it possible that the defense may be able to persuade the court that is prosecuting this case to declare the email evidence inadmissible due to the manner in which it was gathered? My reasoning behind that is the fact that even known criminals who are clearly guilty of misconduct have wiretap evidence and such dismissed all the time based on how it was obtained. In any case, only one thing is absolutely certain at this point in my opinion, and that is that things become dreadfully murky once lawyers become involved.


I think that Microsoft may have perhaps avoided much of this supposed bruhaha had they simply given permission to an outside law enforcement agency to conduct the investigation and gather evidence as the way they went about it might smack a bit of vigilantism in the eyes of privacy advocates. As always, though, hindsight is 20/20.

You need to get out more.
 

shmsnh

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The fanbois are out in force today, I see.

Yes, Google scans your email. Let's put this in context. An automated system scans the words in your email, matches it to keywords which advertisers have selected and shows an ad. That's as far as it goes. They

MSFT accessed a private individual's account - This guy WAS NOT A MICROSOFT EMPLOYEE. He was a "third-party" if you RTFA:

"An ex-Microsoft employee was recently arrested for allegedly leaking company secrets, all because Redmond found evidence against him in his contact's Hotmail account. "

Humans read his email, WITHOUT a warrant signed by a judge. That is a very very different thing.

Congratulations on a job well done. Calling everyone else a ******, without having a clue about what you're saying.
 

Cleavitt76

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Some of you seem to be confused about search warrants, court orders, constitutional rights, and similar US laws.

Search warrant: "A search warrant is a court order issued by a magistrate, judge or Supreme Court official that authorizes law enforcement officers to conduct a search of a person, location, or vehicle for evidence of a crime and to confiscate evidence if it is found. A search warrant cannot be issued in aid of civil process.

Search warrants are not issues to private companies or individuals. They are for law enforcement. A search warrant doesn't apply in this case any more than I would need a search warrant to take pictures of my own house if I was collecting evidence for a vandalism/theft case that I reported.

Court order: "A court order is an official proclamation by a judge (or panel of judges) that ... requires the carrying out of certain steps by one or more parties to a case."

If MS had asked for a court order to gather evidence from their own servers for a criminal case in which they are the victim the judge would no doubt think they were total idiots. Court orders are used to force someone to turn over information/evidence that they are otherwise unwilling to turn over.

As far as "rights to privacy" with services offered by a private company, that does not apply when you are involved in a crime. The terms of service of any service provider clearly state that the data on their system can be searched/seized/deleted/etc. if there is reason to believe you are doing something illegal (which these people were). Microsoft didn't go trolling through all of the data in Hotmail to track down the blogger. The blogger emailed Microsoft to ask them about the stolen information! That's a lot like the stupid criminals that accidently drop their wallet at the scene of the crime. Do you think a search warrant is needed for the victim (or law enforcement) to look inside that wallet?

Some of you act like this is a case were someone said something bad about MS and MS abused its power to hunt them down and destroy them. This was an investigation into a major crime. The reality is that the two people involved in this crime were incredibly stupid. The former employee was committing several crimes and he used MS services (SkyDrive) in the process. The blogger emailed Microsoft using his Hotmail account to ask them if the stolen authorization codes were legit. How stupid can you get?! If someone stole my phone and then started using it to call their friends and take pictures, do you think I should ask for a search warrant or court order before I look at their calls records on my cell phone bill? Should I get permission to copy their selfies that automatically upload to my OneDrive? What do you think the police would say when I ask them for permission to log into my AT&T account and read the text message that the criminal is sending? I'm pretty sure they would say, "why are you asking us for permission?"
 

neo158

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Some of you seem to be confused about search warrants, court orders, constitutional rights, and similar US laws.

Search warrant: "A search warrant is a court order issued by a magistrate, judge or Supreme Court official that authorizes law enforcement officers to conduct a search of a person, location, or vehicle for evidence of a crime and to confiscate evidence if it is found. A search warrant cannot be issued in aid of civil process.

Search warrants are not issues to private companies or individuals. They are for law enforcement. A search warrant doesn't apply in this case any more than I would need a search warrant to take pictures of my own house if I was collecting evidence for a vandalism/theft case that I reported.

Court order: "A court order is an official proclamation by a judge (or panel of judges) that ... requires the carrying out of certain steps by one or more parties to a case."

If MS had asked for a court order to gather evidence from their own servers for a criminal case in which they are the victim the judge would no doubt think they were total idiots. Court orders are used to force someone to turn over information/evidence that they are otherwise unwilling to turn over.

As far as "rights to privacy" with services offered by a private company, that does not apply when you are involved in a crime. The terms of service of any service provider clearly state that the data on their system can be searched/seized/deleted/etc. if there is reason to believe you are doing something illegal (which these people were). Microsoft didn't go trolling through all of the data in Hotmail to track down the blogger. The blogger emailed Microsoft to ask them about the stolen information! That's a lot like the stupid criminals that accidently drop their wallet at the scene of the crime. Do you think a search warrant is needed for the victim (or law enforcement) to look inside that wallet?

Some of you act like this is a case were someone said something bad about MS and MS abused its power to hunt them down and destroy them. This was an investigation into a major crime. The reality is that the two people involved in this crime were incredibly stupid. The former employee was committing several crimes and he used MS services (SkyDrive) in the process. The blogger emailed Microsoft using his Hotmail account to ask them if the stolen authorization codes were legit. How stupid can you get?! If someone stole my phone and then started using it to call their friends and take pictures, do you think I should ask for a search warrant or court order before I look at their calls records on my cell phone bill? Should I get permission to copy their selfies that automatically upload to my OneDrive? What do you think the police would say when I ask them for permission to log into my AT&T account and read the text message that the criminal is sending? I'm pretty sure they would say, "why are you asking us for permission?"

That's a herp derp moment if I ever saw one, how could they both be so incredibly stupid. Candidates for the Darwin Award I think!!
 

fatclue_98

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He was never a Microsoft employee. Read the article again. They investigated the account of a blogger, not of the employee who leaked secrets.

I read about this on another publication, I can't remember which, but the French blogger warned the guy about leaking too much and then contacted Microsoft. It would appear to me that this blogger cooperated with Microsoft. I don't see the problem here. In the US, your expectation of privacy ends the nanosecond you hit that "send" button. Want privacy, hire a Navajo to send encoded smoke messages or get yourself a good set of pigeons. That's reality whether we like it or not.
 

Markham Ranja

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Some of you act like this is a case were someone said something bad about MS and MS abused its power to hunt them down and destroy them. This was an investigation into a major crime. The reality is that the two people involved in this crime were incredibly stupid. The former employee was committing several crimes and he used MS services (SkyDrive) in the process. The blogger emailed Microsoft using his Hotmail account to ask them if the stolen authorization codes were legit. How stupid can you get?! If someone stole my phone and then started using it to call their friends and take pictures, do you think I should ask for a search warrant or court order before I look at their calls records on my cell phone bill? Should I get permission to copy their selfies that automatically upload to my OneDrive? What do you think the police would say when I ask them for permission to log into my AT&T account and read the text message that the criminal is sending? I'm pretty sure they would say, "why are you asking us for permission?"

The reality is that there now seems to be an MS distortion field. Suddenly MS can access consumer Hotmail accounts, all on THEIR OWN suspicion that there may be criminal activity that may harm them? And this is fine? What rubbish.

The problem here is that MS unilaterally went ahead and did this without a warrant. And yeah, just because it's Hotmail does not mean that MS automatically has the right. It's like a hotel or rented accomodation - a hotel must have a police officer present to open a guest's room without permission. That's the more appropriate metaphor. MS should have gotten the police involved and at least asked them to supervise or be present when this was going on.
 

Cleavitt76

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It's hard to take you seriously when you are still talking nonsense about a private company "getting a warrant". That can't even be done as I already explained. Go back and re-read my post including the parts you conveniently left out when you quoted me. That part was actually specifically for you.
 

travis_valkyrie

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^^ I'm with you there. Apparently either a summary or a thorough explanation of what had happened wasn't enough for that guy. The thing is he's like unilaterally (seems like the only word he knows to defend his argument) defending Google just because he uses gmail. But what he doesn't know is apparently Yahoo, Google and Apple also claim right to read user emails | Technology | theguardian.com

"Like Microsoft, other webmail giants all reserve the right to read user emails, if 'deemed necessary'"
 
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colinkiama

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^^ I'm with you there. Apparently either a summary or a thorough explanation of what had happened wasn't enough for that guy. The thing is he's like unilaterally (seems like the only word he knows to defend his argument) defending Google just because he uses gmail. But what he doesn't know is apparently Yahoo, Google and Apple also claim right to read user emails | Technology | theguardian.com

"Like Microsoft, other webmail giants all reserve the right to read user emails, if 'deemed necessary'"
yeah, what do we have to hide anyway?
 

colinkiama

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would you have been okay if the NSA said that they were collecting data from us through a pop up or disclaimer. Basically something that lets us know.
 

neo158

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The reality is that there now seems to be an MS distortion field. Suddenly MS can access consumer Hotmail accounts, all on THEIR OWN suspicion that there may be criminal activity that may harm them? And this is fine? What rubbish.

The problem here is that MS unilaterally went ahead and did this without a warrant. And yeah, just because it's Hotmail does not mean that MS automatically has the right. It's like a hotel or rented accomodation - a hotel must have a police officer present to open a guest's room without permission. That's the more appropriate metaphor. MS should have gotten the police involved and at least asked them to supervise or be present when this was going on.

RTFA as you've asked others to do many times. The blogger emailed Microsoft from his own Hotmail account, how much clearer do we have to make it, Microsoft didn't search through everyone's accounts as they knew exactly which account to look at in the first place. All email providers do this, it's in the ToS you agreed to when you signed up for an account.

They didn't need a search warrant as a law enforcement agency wasn't involved, they didn't need a court order as it's their own servers and the search was carried out in accordance with the ToS for Hotmail. This was an internal investigation that has led to the arrest of the employee, if a manager at a workplace is investigating a theft then does that person need a warrant to search lockers?

If you really can't see why everyone is disagreeing with you then that's not our problem!!!
 
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