Feeds

Microsoft alters Passport Terms to stem Hotmail defections

Too late, we're outta here - users

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

High performance access to file storage

Microsoft is to amend its Passport Terms of Use within the next day, a spokesman told The Register today. Corporate spokesman Tom Pilla said:-

"People are confused, and rightly so. The Passport Terms haven't been updated to reflect our privacy policy. We're sorry."

The existing Terms of Use to Passport - the authentication hub for Hotmail, MSN Instant Messenger and many other Microsoft web services - appear to entitle Microsoft to users' copyright and patents. We first covered this in a story last week here.

However each Passport service has its own Terms of Use, although this muddies rather than clarifies the waters. For example, under the Hotmail conditions, Microsoft says it does not claim ownership of your material.... Er, except when it does.

Specifically, when information is posted in a public area, "in connection with the operation of [Microsoft and its affiliates and sub-licensees] Internet business." That sounds like a whole different kettle of fish, but we're sure we could find lawyers to argue that Passport conditions apply to Hotmail - since Passport is the authentication mechanism for Hotmail - and that email can be construed as public.

Of course neither of these is a sensible position - but that hasn't prevented bad law being made - as the US DMCA Act and the British RIP Act demonstrate.

Pilla said the Terms were being revised to bring them up to date with Microsoft's TRUSTe privacy policy, claiming that the privacy policy "trumped" the Passport Terms.

But that isn't actually the case, as the privacy policy covers data about you, not what you say. When pressed, Tom advised us to "ask TRUSTe".

Pilla also denied that Microsoft had seen users defect from the Hotmail in the past week. But our mailbag tells us otherwise. Although the Passport Terms of Use are in likelihood unenforceable, Register readers are leaving nothing to chance.

Passport to hell

We've had letters from Hotmail users ranging from IT consultants to Hollywood screenwriters vowing never to use the service again. (We'll post a selection shortly). And some websites are reciprocating Microsoft's Passport terms, by beginning to block Hotmail email too. Steve Litt of Troubleshooters.com revised his own terms to block Passport services. Moongroup simply blocks incoming postings from Hotmail, MSN, or Microsoft itself.

Pilla also denied that Passport subscribers were being told they couldn't unsubscribe from the network. That seems to be as legally unenforceable as the original Terms Of Use, but we'll return to that one. ®

Related Story

All your data (and biz plans) are belong to Microsoft

SANS - Survey on application security programs

More from The Register

next story
Dropbox defends fantastically badly timed Condoleezza Rice appointment
'Nothing is going to change with Dr. Rice's appointment,' file sharer promises
Audio fans, prepare yourself for the Second Coming ... of Blu-ray
High Fidelity Pure Audio – is this what your ears have been waiting for?
Record labels sue Pandora over vintage song royalties
Companies want payout on recordings made before 1972
Zucker punched: Google gobbles Facebook-wooed Titan Aerospace
Up, up and away in my beautiful balloon flying broadband-bot
Ex–Apple CEO John Sculley: Ousting Steve Jobs 'was a mistake'
Twenty-nine years later, post-Pepsi exec has flat-forehead moment
Apple DOMINATES the Valley, rakes in more profit than Google, HP, Intel, Cisco COMBINED
Cook & Co. also pay more taxes than those four worthies PLUS eBay and Oracle
Number crunching suggests Yahoo! US is worth less than nothing
China and Japan holdings worth more than entire company
prev story

Whitepapers

SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.