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Emboldened by user 'apathy' to Yahoo!'s privacy changes in April, Microsoft has followed suit. It has now co-opted existing Passport users to share their email addresses and other registration information with third parties, Register readers report.

Three new checkboxes have appeared on the registration page, with "Share my email address" and "Share my other registration information" ticked by default.

The policy change doesn't apply to new sign-ups. Or at least, it didn't when we tried to this morning: all three fields are unchecked by default.

The "my other registration information" discloses Birth Date, Country/Region, "Prefecture" (an odd way of describing "District"), Gender, Accessibility, Time Zone and Occupation to .NET participants.

But in general users couldn't care less about privacy. We know this because The New York Times tells us so, in a story entitled The Yahoo Privacy Storm That Wasn't, published on Monday.

Two days later the Times announced a syndication deal with Yahoo!, giving the privacy-invading portal exclusive online rights to charge for the New York Times archive.

Surely one from the Department of Unfortunate Coincidences. ®

Bootnote: "Although the New York Times likes to pose as being above the battle," - indeed, it places itself at the pinnacle of the American class system system and more recently as healer of the nation - "this position has never stopped the Times, once the battle's fought, from sneaking onto the field and shooting the wounded," wrote Gore Vidal, citing Murray Kempton. That quote launches Vidal's account of how the Times struggled to cope with the facts of the 2000 election recount, which we heartily recommend for its entertainment value.

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