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back to article Microsoft promises no snooping in new fine print for web services

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 …

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I hope "hard to bind a third party to a contract without their consent" is an understatement. I thought only the Government could do that.

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Anonymous Coward

It's mainly CYA

By stating limits on child access it in such a way MS. makes it appear they care, but there is as much of a barrier of access for kids there as Facebook, i.e. none (I reckon nobody will even read it, and until I see some more upfront questions at the signup screen I don't even believe they are genuinely trying to address an issue here other than shifting liability away from themselves). I'm happy that they make a few things clearer, but as MS operates under US law this remains window dressing anyway - not that EU privacy law is any better when it comes to children..

(all IMHO, of course).

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Windows

Target advertising?

Of course they won't, it isn't their business!

Now, snooping your emails and chats to find out if you're having non-autorized chats with one of their employees, on the other hand...

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Silver badge

Re: Target advertising?

>>"Now, snooping your emails and chats to find out if you're having non-autorized chats with one of their employees, on the other hand..."

...is also not their business model. They make about 28% of revenue from OEMs, 22% from Server and Tools, 32% from Business, 5% from Online Services and 13% from Entertainment and Devices (XBox et al). I don't see a large section in there where reading your emails provides a revenue stream. Ergo, it's not the business they're in

Seriously - this is a good thing for anyone who cares about massive online profiles being built about what they say or read.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Target advertising?

It isn't a revenue stream - but it is something that they have done (see how they caught their employee that leaked Windows 8), and will keep on doing, with a self-appointed "oversee" committee deciding when they can access any individual's email, chats, etc. I find that individual snooping more scary than an automated script travelling through my emails to serve target advertising.

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Gold badge

Re: Target advertising?

If you honestly believe that Microsoft don't have a machine "reading" every single e-mail, text, chat, etc that goes through their network you're a fucking idiot. Of course they do. They know as much about you as Google does, they just use it in different ways.

Frankly, I find the uses Microsoft engages in scarier than Google's attempts to sell me more accurate tat.

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Big Brother

Re: Target advertising?

It isn't a revenue stream - but it is something that they have done (see how they caught their employee that leaked Windows 8),

This is the first thing I was thinking about, and also made me notice that the new fine print doesn't cover this. It's only saying they're not going to read your email for targeted advertising purposes. Which means they can read it for pretty much any other purpose. Oops!

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Bronze badge
Black Helicopters

We don't use your documents, photos or other personal files to target advertising to you

"We don't use your documents, photos or other personal files to target advertising to you"

... but they might use your documents, photos or other personal files to grass you up, snoop or otherwise shaft you sideways.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: We don't use your documents, photos or other personal files to target advertising to you

...or to advertise to your friends, family, neighbours, colleagues, and anyone else on your contact list. Just not to you.

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Anonymous Coward

We won't use it for advertising..

.. but we'll still let all the 3 letter agencies have a peek (for a fat fee, of course, that's the whole idea)..

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Bronze badge

Bullshit

To a first approximation, any contract entered into by a minor is invalid, so the small print is moot - if the contract is invalid so are the terms mandating that a legal guardian must sign on the minor's behalf. It's Microsoft's job to ensure that the second party is legally able to assent, not the other way around.

That's without even considering the legal black hole those terms create: if I don't know if I am still a minor but on finding out that no, I am not, I must still find my legal guardian that I don't actually have.

The more I read these boilerplate contracts the more I am convinced that illegal terms should invalidate the entire contract as opposed to the specific section: i.e. "that clause is unenforceable so you don't have a contract", not "you tried to breach their rights that way but you can't, we'll still allow you to rip them off this other way".

If that was the default position we might start seeing some more reasonable terms in these contracts that everybody reads before clicking through.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Bullshit

Maybe not in the UK, where minors *can* be bound by a contract. IANAL but there's case law which means that a minor can make a contract for certain "essential amenities" - and I think in the US there's the concept of an "emancipated minor"

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Bullshit

Ah, alas, privacy laws have a clause to give minors the ability to handle data without the parents' consent. This was originally done in the context of it being better for public health if they could go to a doctor with confidentiality than avoiding such a visit because the parents could find out.

The problem is that this was aimed at submitting data for confidential purposes, not for allowing them to get themselves into trouble in an environment where it's even hard for an adult to protect themselves, let alone a child still trying to find its feet emotionally (hence a couple of suicides).

As a parent I'm of the opinion that I should have a say in data that is put on global display, because I have a responsibility (and, as a decent parent, a natural desire) to protect and guide my children, and this is one of those loopholes that allows setups like FB and Google to grab child data and walk off with it legally (the other one is asking friends instead of the child directly, image tagging is in that context an absolutely lethal concept).

Not a good start of a child's life IMHO, but apart from being on the ball you are left with no control over these operators. In my opinion, if a child is not considered legally competent to enter into a legal agreement before a certain age then it certainly should not be considered competent to grant permission in an area where even adults make serious mistakes.

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Facepalm

Call me cynical

Probably as reliable as a Nick Clegg promise.

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Anonymous Coward

not new - philosophically speaking

parent or legal guardian of a minor - you are responsible at so many levels for their behaviour...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: not new - philosophically speaking

you are responsible at so many levels for their behaviour...

Just spend less time in lifts.

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