How can Microsoft legally read a blogger’s hotmail emails to find the source of a leak?


Microsoft apparently went through the hotmail account of the blogger who posted leaked Windows code to find the source of the leak. Can they just do this? Is it legal for them to just go through and read peoples' emails whenever they have what they think is a good reason to do so?

Topic: Security
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CAN they do this?  Sure.  Is it ethical?  Maybe, maybe not.  I have not read the T's and C's from Hotmail since I created my account in 1989.  I am sure they have changed since then.  I would certainly be surprised if their agreement did not give them the ultimate right to do that.  The agreements are usually written for the protection of the company, not the user.


Bottom line, I would personally not send anything out on a public network like that, that I was not willing to have made public...  

Vote Up (8)

Jim, even with a private e-mail system, such as the one we have at work, we tell users in the Acceptable Use Policy that anything they send on it is to be for business use, and is the property of the agency.  As a former IT director for a K-12 school district, we had similar language there as well.


Regardless, once you "send it out", there is always the possibility that it can be intercepted and read by those other than the intended recipient.

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The best way to avoid this is to not use Hotmail, Gmail or any other free email service. Once you agree to their terms, they can do whatever they want with your mail.

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You know those very long, very small print TOS (Terms of Service) agreements that you scroll through without reading, then click “I agree” so you can use the software/service/website/whatever? Microsoft has those for hotmail (or outlook as they call it now) and everyone that uses it has agree to. So, yes, you have already given Microsoft permission to go through your emails if they want to do so, and yes, it is perfectly legal.

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