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posted by janrinok on Tuesday April 01 2014, @07:00PM   Printer-friendly
from the we-won't-look-we'll-get-law-enforcement-to-do-that dept.

Blackmoore writes:

SN reported last week the story of a search by Microsoft through a reporter's Hotmail account looking for evidence of stolen IP, which resulted in quite a bit of criticism for Microsoft's heavy-handed approach.

Mike Masnick at TechDirt reports that Microsoft and its legal team took the criticism seriously. Microsoft's General Counsel Brad Smith has now put out a new blog post announcing a complete change in policy, promising that it will not unilaterally look through any Microsoft user's content in search of "stolen" intellectual property. If such a search is thought necessary they will refer the matter to Law Enforcement.

 
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  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by frojack on Tuesday April 01 2014, @07:21PM

    by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday April 01 2014, @07:21PM (#24422) Journal

    Quoting the linked blog:

    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.

    So as I read this, if some third party alleges sharing of IP via Microsoft's email (or presumably onedrive) Microsoft won't do anything except refer it to the police.

    Which means they are washing their hands of the whole matter until the Police contact them back and tell them they need to inspect that storage.

    However, the police aren't going to do anything about sum random request unless there are big lawyers involved. Seriously, what police force has the time to track down someone distributing a song or a movie on some random web site.

    This suggests to me that Microsoft may have some local Officer Friendly which will turn around and rubber stamp a search request so Microsoft can pretend they had nothing to do with it.

    Either that or they are going to make each complainant go through some level of law enforcement before they will get involved.

    Somehow I suspect there are giant loopholes in this policy carefully hidden in weasel words that allow a lot more freedom to Microsoft than it appears at first blush.

    I have a hotmail account and a OneDrive account, but I've never entertained the crazy notion that Microsoft affords me any level of privacy in either, other than the anonymity that comes from being in a crowd. My suspicion is that this new promise rings hollow.

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  • (Score: 1) by kristian on Tuesday April 01 2014, @07:40PM

    by kristian (2395) <kristianNO@SPAMwaffl.in> on Tuesday April 01 2014, @07:40PM (#24434) Homepage

    However, the police aren't going to do anything about sum random request unless there are big lawyers involved. Seriously, what police force has the time to track down someone distributing a song or a movie on some random web site.

    The whole issue here had to do with Microsoft's own intellectual property (in this case source code) being leaked through a hotmail account. I don't think that they intend to report anybody for distributing songs and movies. They probably take the same approach to this that other tech companies take, which is to ignore the infringement until a DMCA notice shows up.

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    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 01 2014, @09:53PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 01 2014, @09:53PM (#24482)

      FWIW "leaked through" is a little misleading. The sender, while a microsoft employee, did not use hotmail to send anything from microsoft. He did talk to a reporter who had a hotmail address - MS knew the reporter was involved (he reported it, duh) so MS went through the reporter's old email to see who had been talking to him.

    • (Score: 2) by frojack on Wednesday April 02 2014, @12:34AM

      by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday April 02 2014, @12:34AM (#24540) Journal

      The prior incident was microsoft IP sent to hotmail.

      However, the new policy addresses much more than simply Microsoft source code. You have to look past the triggering event, and toward the future, because that is exactly what Microsoft's new policy addresses.

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  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by carguy on Tuesday April 01 2014, @08:22PM

    by carguy (568) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday April 01 2014, @08:22PM (#24451)

    > other than the anonymity that comes from being in a crowd.

    Big difference between a crowd and a searchable database!