Just when you thought things were bad, now another computer giant is invading our privacy.
After criticizing rival Google Inc. for invading customer privacy, Microsoft Corp. is reportedly admitting it did the same thing. According to an Associated Press article posted on foxnews.com, the Redmond, Wash., software giant says it searched a blogger’s Hotmail account to figure out who was leaking company secrets.
Microsoft owns Hotmail, and John Frank, the corporation’s deputy general counsel, is quoted as admitting the software company “took extraordinary actions in this case.”
According to the AP, the Federal Bureau of Investigation theft-of-secrets complaint recently filed in Seattle federal court involves former employee Alex Kibkalo, a Russian native who worked for Microsoft as a software architect in Lebanon.
The 2012 email search reportedly uncovered messages from Kibkalo to the blogger containing fixes for the Windows 8 RT operating system before they were publicly released. Kibkalo, who has since relocated to Russia, also allegedly shared a software development kit that could be used by hackers to understand more about the company’s use of product keys to activate software. In addition to the emails, Microsoft looked at instant messages that were exchanged and examined files on Kibkalo’s cloud storage account.
Hotmail’s terms-of-service agreement is said to include a section stating that information may be accessed or disclosed, including the content of communications.
In the past, Microsoft has taken a stand against government intrusions into privacy as well as criticizing Google for scanning emails to sell ads.
Is this a double standard or simple hypocrisy?