Privacy Concerns Dog Microsoft After Arrest of Windows Leaker
Microsoft institutes changes after it's revealed that the company peered into a Hotmail account during its investigation of leaked software.Alex Kibkalo, an ex-employee of Microsoft, was arrested in Seattle on March 19 in connection with some major leaks at the software giant. But it's Microsoft that's drawing the public's ire. During the company's investigation, it accessed the Hotmail account of a blogger who had been in touch with Kibkalo and collected confidential files from the former Microsoft software architect, including a software development kit (SDK) used in validating product keys. Microsoft gathered the information from Hotmail (now Outlook.com), which it owns, without a court order. Jennifer Granick, a Stanford Center for Internet and Society attorney, called the move "stupid" in a New York Times report. "What blogger will use that service now?" No laws appear to have been broken by Microsoft, as its "actions were within the boundaries of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, which allows service providers to read and disclose customers' communications if it is necessary to protect the rights or property of the service provider," said the report. Nonetheless, the law isn't shielding the Redmond, Wash.-based tech behemoth from criticism.
"Microsoft essentially decided that whatever privacy expectation that its own customers supposedly had was basically a dead letter," Edward Wasserman, the dean of the Graduate School of Journalism at University of California, Berkeley, told the paper. "It simply decided that in its own corporate interest, it can intrude on a person's email."