Microsoft in a rhubarb over privacy

In its effort to track down the source of a leak about Win8 OS last year, Microsoft (MSFT) admits that it read the Hotmail inbox of a blogger who it suspected had received stolen lines of code from the as-yet-unreleased product.

The firm's action became known this week as part of a legal case between US prosecutors and Alex Kibalko, a former Lebanon-based Microsoft employee.

The company's actions, while legal, are a bit embarrassing considering its criticism of Google's practice of scanning users' emails for targeted advertising.

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Comments (12)
  • Willow Street Investments
    , contributor
    Comments (2369) | Send Message
    Clearly not the same circumstances. GOOG scans all emails to make further profits. MSFT was looking at someone being investigated for a criminal act. Nothing to be outraged about, but then again this is America and the "(fake)outrage" industry grows bigger every day.
    21 Mar 2014, 08:18 AM Reply Like
  • wil3714
    , contributor
    Comments (2334) | Send Message
    Whats legal is legal, this employee probably signed a confidentially agreement to not steal IP info,not similar to goog case
    21 Mar 2014, 08:28 AM Reply Like
  • KevinRemde
    , contributor
    Comments (572) | Send Message
    I haven't read every word, but I'm pretty sure the terms of service agreement you make when signing up for ANY online service has a section that says your mailbox will be accessed if you are suspected of illegal activity.
    21 Mar 2014, 08:30 AM Reply Like
  • mlcooper54
    , contributor
    Comments (37) | Send Message
    Do you (whoever wrote this supposedly piece of news) really think Microsoft feels embarrassed? They are fully justified in what they were doing. They had actionable info that gave them a reason to inspect 1 email account.


    It sounds like the author is putting words in Microsoft's mouth.
    21 Mar 2014, 08:55 AM Reply Like
  • wigit5
    , contributor
    Comments (4365) | Send Message
    The only thing embarrassing here is that SA published this lol
    21 Mar 2014, 09:17 AM Reply Like
  • Transcripts&10-K's
    , contributor
    Comments (1216) | Send Message
    "The company's actions, while legal, are a bit embarrassing considering its criticism of Google's practice of scanning users' emails for targeted advertising."


    Yes, cause clearly scanning the emails of millions of users is comparable to inspecting a single email account suspected of stealing the company's IP.


    We can certainly discuss whether or not that is appropriate; to suggest this is comparable to what Google does each and every day is utter nonsense.
    21 Mar 2014, 09:28 AM Reply Like
  • monmon
    , contributor
    Comments (13) | Send Message
    hang the B......!!!!!!!!!
    21 Mar 2014, 09:50 AM Reply Like
  • rlpotter3
    , contributor
    Comments (4) | Send Message
    I think the first 6 folks said it plainly - must be a really slow day at the BBC where this article originated.


    As a shareholder I applaud their investigation into this individual. The more conservative approach would be to hire outside counsel to investigate which is exactly what MSFT has committed to do in the future. Brovo to MSFT.
    21 Mar 2014, 10:18 AM Reply Like
  • JD in NJ
    , contributor
    Comments (1634) | Send Message
    I don't see that there is any real comparison between Google's mass-but-automated scanning of keywords vs. Microsoft's human scanning of one mailbox. There is really no similarity at all.
    21 Mar 2014, 10:34 AM Reply Like
  • ewmpsi
    , contributor
    Comments (1697) | Send Message
    "That’s a lame argument given the fact that this is a criminal case involving damages to Microsoft’s own properties."
    "During an investigation of an employee we discovered evidence that the employee was providing stolen IP, including code relating to our activation process, to a third party. In order to protect our customers and the security and integrity of our products, we conducted an investigation over many months with law enforcement agencies in multiple countries. This included the issuance of a court order for the search of a home relating to evidence of the criminal acts involved. The investigation repeatedly identified clear evidence that the third party involved intended to sell Microsoft IP and had done so in the past."
    "As part of the investigation, we took the step of a limited review of this third party’s Microsoft operated accounts. While Microsoft’s terms of service make clear our permission for this type of review, this happens only in the most exceptional circumstances. We apply a rigorous process before reviewing such content. In this case, there was a thorough review by a legal team separate from the investigating team and strong evidence of a criminal act that met a standard comparable to that required to obtain a legal order to search other sites. In fact, as noted above, such a court order was issued in other aspects of the investigation."
    21 Mar 2014, 11:32 AM Reply Like
  • techy46
    , contributor
    Comments (11500) | Send Message
    I'd say the defendant is the one in the rhubarb not Microsoft.
    21 Mar 2014, 11:51 AM Reply Like
  • anil92691
    , contributor
    Comments (809) | Send Message
    What MSFT did was fair. I thought a company has a right to look at employee emails. If this person was an employee email, it should allow MSFT to read all emails as part of their investigations. And if it were GOOG or Yahoo email, I think MSFT could use a private investigator to read those emails if they can access them.


    To take the argument a little extreme. All is fair in a war started by the leaker!
    21 Mar 2014, 12:10 PM Reply Like
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