Feeds

Microsoft alters Passport Terms to stem Hotmail defections

Too late, we're outta here - users

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

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

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Amazon says Hachette should lower ebook prices, pay authors more
Oh yeah ... and a 30% cut for Amazon to seal the deal
Philip K Dick 'Nazi alternate reality' story to be made into TV series
Amazon Studios, Ridley Scott firm to produce The Man in the High Castle
Nintend-OH NO! Sorry, Mario – your profits are in another castle
Red-hatted mascot, red-colored logo, red-stained finance books
Sonos AXES support for Apple's iOS4 and 5
Want to use your iThing? You can't - it's too old
Joe Average isn't worth $10 a year to Mark Zuckerberg
The Social Network deflates the PC resurgence with mobile-only usage prediction
Chips are down at Broadcom: Thousands of workers laid off
Cellphone baseband device biz shuttered
Feel free to BONK on the TUBE, says Transport for London
Plus: Almost NOBODY uses pay-by-bonk on buses - Visa
Twitch rich as Google flicks $1bn hitch switch, claims snitch
Gameplay streaming biz and search king refuse to deny fresh gobble rumors
Stick a 4K in them: Super high-res TVs are DONE
4,000 pixels is niche now... Don't say we didn't warn you
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Maximize storage efficiency across the enterprise
The HP StoreOnce backup solution offers highly flexible, centrally managed, and highly efficient data protection for any enterprise.