2 April 2001
  Updated: 08:16 GMT
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All your data (and biz plans) are belong to Microsoft
Posted: 30/03/2001 at 15:07 GMT

With Microsoft's HailStorm .NET initiative hinging on the company's very own PassPort service, you'd think Redmond would be bending over backwards to stress the confidentially of user information.

Well, if that's the case, it hasn't started yet.

The current Passport Terms of Use agreement not only fails to guarantee confidentially, but actually gives Microsoft and its business partners the right to own your information, and do pretty much what they want with it. That encompasses all your Hotmail and MSN Messenger communications today.

As the Terms state:

"By posting messages, uploading files, inputting data, submitting any feedback or suggestions, or engaging in any other form of communication
with or through the Passport Web Site ... you are granting Microsoft and its affiliated companies permission to:

1. Use, modify, copy, distribute, transmit, publicly display, publicly perform, reproduce, publish, sublicense, create derivative works from, transfer, or sell any such communication.

2. Sublicense to third parties the unrestricted right to exercise any of the foregoing rights granted with respect to the communication.

3. Publish your name in connection with any such communication."

And it doesn't stop there. Are you emailing a contact about a hot idea or business plan of your own? Hand that over, too:

The foregoing grants shall include the right to exploit any proprietary rights in such communication, including but not limited to rights under copyright, trademark, service mark or patent laws under any relevant jurisdiction. No compensation will be paid with respect to Microsoft's use of the materials contained within such communication.

After the eFront debacle, we're baffled why anyone would want to trust confidential communications to any of the big IM services, let alone MSN Messenger.

Apple originally launched its iDisk service with a similar landgrab, but was quickly forced to retreat.

As reader Ken points out, 'All Your Data Belong To Us'. He's not kidding. ®

Related Link
PassPort Terms of Use

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Pay-to-Play: Microsoft erects .NET tollgate
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