Microsoft admits reading emails- Google and Apple reserve right to do the same

24/03/2014

Last week, Microsoft admitted it read the Outlook emails of one of its users in order to track down a leaked story- causing much embarrassment considering its own ‘Scroogled’ campaign criticizing Google. Now, its appears its main rivals all reserve the right to do the same thing.

The Guardian initially began investigating the rights of major companies to access user email after Microsoft looked through the personal Hotmail account of a blogger in order to discover the source of a Windows 8 leak.

Microsoft employee Alex Kibkalo was found sending a tech blogger parts of Windows 8 code back in 2012, allowing the blogger to access screenshots of the operating system, which were then posted online.

Microsoft fired Kibkalo, but its methods of discovery were questioned, prompting the company to make a statement on its investigation policies, pledging not to read customer emails except in circumstances where a court order would be justified and vowing to announce such searches in its bi-annual transparency report.

According to research by The Guardian Apple, Yahoo, and Google all have terms of service that allow them to read users' emails if necessary.

Apple's iCloud Terms and Conditions includes a clause that gives Apple permission to disclose Account information and Content, including iCloud email, when necessary by law, to address security, fraud, or technical issues, or to protect the rights and property of Apple.

Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft's terms of service all contain similar wording granting the technology companies unfettered access to content.

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