Feeds

Microsoft alters Passport Terms to stem Hotmail defections

Too late, we're outta here - users

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

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

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
Apple CEO Tim Cook: TV is TERRIBLE and stuck in the 1970s
The iKing thinks telly is far too fiddly and ugly – basically, iTunes
Israeli spies rebel over mass-snooping on innocent Palestinians
'Disciplinary treatment will be sharp and clear' vow spy-chiefs
Huawei ditches new Windows Phone mobe plans, blames poor sales
Giganto mobe firm slams door shut on Microsoft. OH DEAR
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Found inside ISIS terror chap's laptop: CELINE DION tunes
REPORT: Stash of terrorist material found in Syria Dell box
OECD lashes out at tax avoiding globocorps' location-flipping antics
You hear that, Amazon, Google, Microsoft et al?
Show us your Five-Eyes SECRETS says Privacy International
Refusal to disclose GCHQ canteen menus and prices triggers Euro Human Rights Court action
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.