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MS Passport to escape European investigation?

UK rep feels it's 'essentially fair'

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Microsoft's Passport may escape with a caution from the European Union, as opposed to a full-blown privacy investigation, next week. According to a Bloomberg report this morning, Iain Bourne, strategic policy manager for the UK's Office of the Information Commissioner, feels Passport is "essentially fair," but that Microsoft "could be clearer with individuals about its Passport policy."

Privacy regulators form the 15 EU governments are due to make a decision on whether to roll with an investigation of Passport on Monday, but if Bourne's views are shared by other representatives it seems probable that Microsoft will simply be told to clean its act up a tad. Bourne says that "we do not think there is a data protection problem that cannot be resolved," and as Microsoft is generally keen to be helpful its policy people will surely be falling over themselves to resolve them.

The European Commission has been looking into Passport in response to questions raised by Netherlands European Parliament member Erik Meijer, but 'looking into' and 'launching a formal investigation' are two separate things. Which explains Microsoft's non-announcement of a few weeks back trumpeting that none of the European governments was formally investigating Passport. Well of course not, silly, we knew that already.

Bloomberg, we presume, has been doing a ring-round just in case they push the button next week, but seems not to have found any troublemakers. Italy, Finland and Spain have made no decision, while Ireland has no plans to investigate. That still leaves several of the usual suspects, but from Microsoft's point of view, so far, so good? ®

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