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Microsoft excludes world+dog from Passport climb-down

Y'all, go to hell

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No, we weren't going nuts.

Although Microsoft very publicly ate humble pie this week, after its Passport authentication hub's Terms of Use appeared to give it carte blanche over users' intellectual property, it seems that it was eating American Pie only.

To be precise, Microsoft's revision of its Passport Terms of Use applies only to American users. Or users Microsoft thinks are in North America. To see the difference, (supposing you're using Windows) you need to change your Windows 'Regional Options' settings in Control Panel like so. If you're outside the US, and see for example 'English (British)', change it to 'English (United States)'. Windows 9x versions will require a reboot for this to take effect.

A quick diff over the two will reveals the change. For there, and for US users, the new revised terms magically appear. The principle change is that the IP pickpocketing clause has been moved to a new heading entitled 'MICROSOFT'S RIGHT TO USE FEEDBACK OR SUGGESTIONS YOU SUBMIT'. So if you feel like sending, for example, your unique mechanism for cold fusion directly to Microsoft in the form of a feedback response, then so be it. All things considered, that's an improvement.

But it's not an improvement that the rest of the world can enjoy, however, and it raises a host of questions. Suppose you log in from Switzerland, but switch to the US settings... which terms cover you? Is Microsoft following the post-Kyoto flavour of the week and telling the rest of the world to like it, or lump it? A kind of gesture of isolationist solidarity? (No gags, please, about toxic emissions from Redmond exceeding the global average... we've thought of those already, and they're not that funny.)

But we wonder, did Microsoft take soundings from its overseas outposts before making this change? Heck, is there a lawyer in the house?

Many thanks to Danish correspondent Jacub for pointing this out. ®

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