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MS threatened by Euro privacy probe

Sweden thinks Redmond might have broken the law already. Oh dear...

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Now what did we tell you? The personal data sent to Redmond by the Windows 98 registration wizard is of course being exported, if it's being sent from outside the US. And if it's being sent from Europe, Microsoft may well be in breach of European privacy legislation. The Swedish Computer Inspectorate certainly thinks this is a possibility, and is reportedly considering an investigation of the matter. The legislation, which came into force last year, requires companies holding data on EU citizens to conform to European privacy protection standards, and makes it illegal to export data to companies that don't make the grade. And while menacing noises are starting to emanate from Sweden, Jason Catlett of privacy lobby outfit Junkbusters has filed a formal complaint about Microsoft with TrustE, which operates a kind of auditing system for companies' Internet privacy policies. Afterwards, TrustE gives the company an approval certificate. But TrustE is a Microsoft corporate partner, and gets $100,000 a year from Redmond. Tricky - the company intends to say what it's going to do about this particular hot potato today. ®

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