Feeds

Microsoft promises no snooping in new fine print for web services

They've even thought of the children and how to make you responsible for them

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

Microsoft has updated its Services Agreement, the legalese almost nobody bothers to read before clicking “I Agree” when signing up for online services.

The changes are notable because Microsoft has been critical of Google's fine print in the “Scroogled” campaign pointing out that rival ad-slinging-based-on-search-results outfit Google customises advertising after rifling through all sorts of personal data. Redmond, in an FAQ about its new agreement, points out that “we do not use what you say in email, chat, video calls, or voice mail to target advertising to you. Nor do we use your documents, photos, or other personal files to target advertising to you.”

Which is nice, given the agreement covers “Bing, MSN, Outlook.com (formerly Hotmail), OneDrive (formerly SkyDrive), Microsoft account, Family Safety, Photo Gallery, Movie Maker, Windows Live Mail, Windows Live Writer, Office.com, Microsoft Office 365 Home Premium, Microsoft Office 365 University, and other Microsoft Office–branded services that link to the agreement through a supplemental agreement.”

The breadth of services covered may, however, be a worry inasmuch as a new clause 1.5 makes parents responsible for their kids actions online.

Here's the clause in full:

“By using the Services, you represent that you have either reached the age of 'majority' where you live or have valid parent or legal guardian consent to be bound by the terms of this Agreement. If you don't know whether you have reached the age of majority where you live, or don't understand this section, please don't create an account before you have asked your parent or legal guardian for help. If you're the parent or legal guardian of a minor that creates an account, you accept this Agreement on the minor’s behalf and are responsible for all use of the accounts or Services, including purchases, whether the minor’s account is now open or created later.”

Informal legal advice sought by Vulture South suggests the clause might be tricky to enforce: it's hard to bind a third party to a contract without their consent, even if the person signing up is a minor for whom an adult is legally responsible.

Microsoft has also created new new privacy statements for many of its online properties, along with a portal of sorts linking to them. Redmond is proud that all are now written in plain English.

There's also rather obvious links to opt-out services, for those who want Redmond to stop slinging ads altogether.

If Microsoft's services direct new users to these statements, there's a chance they will actually stop to read the legalese, which is brief, crisply written and pleasantly laid out. Your move, Google et al. ®

Intelligent flash storage arrays

More from The Register

next story
Ex-US Navy fighter pilot MIT prof: Drones beat humans - I should know
'Missy' Cummings on UAVs, smartcars and dying from boredom
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
The 'fun-nification' of computer education – good idea?
Compulsory code schools, luvvies love it, but what about Maths and Physics?
Doctor Who's Flatline: Cool monsters, yes, but utterly limp subplots
We know what the Doctor does, stop going on about it already
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
'Cowardly, venomous trolls' threatened with TWO-YEAR sentences for menacing posts
UK government: 'Taking a stand against a baying cyber-mob'
Sysadmin with EBOLA? Gartner's issued advice to debug your biz
Start hoarding cleaning supplies, analyst firm says, and assume your team will scatter
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
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.