European Union court ruled last month that search engines like Google should be able to remove personal links of users on request. Google has already started implementing this Right To Be Forgotten request form last month, and as per Search Engine Land, it has been taking in about 10,000 requests per day. This law applies for Bing too. Microsoft Bing last month revealed that they are working on a special process for residents of the European Union to request blocks of specific privacy-related search results on Bing in response to searches on their names. Today, Microsoft has made it available to the general public. Here is the information Microsoft posted on their page, If you are a European resident and want to request that Microsoft block search results on Bing in response to searches on your name, please use this form. We encourage you to provide complete and relevant information for ...

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Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith recently blogged about his views on recent ruling regarding consumer privacy by the US supreme court. It was the case of Riley v. California in which court ruled that warrantless searches cannot be extended to mobile devices and government agencies should get a warrant to search a device of the accused. To know about how the public feels about these issues, Microsoft commissioned a survey. Microsoft revealed that full 83 percent of American voters believe police should get a warrant before searching personal information on someone’s cell phone. The poll also found that: · 75 percent agree with Chief Justice Roberts’ statement that “privacy comes at a cost” and there needs to be a balance between fighting crime and our Constitutional right to privacy; and · 86 percent believe police should have to follow the same legal requirements for obtaining personal information stored in the cloud as they do for ...

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Microsoft seized 22 domain names from dynamic DNS provider No-IP as those domains were being abused in malware-related crimes against Windows users. With a special order from federal court, Microsoft became the domain IP resolver for the No-IP domains. In this process, millions of innocent users got affected due to domain issues that happened due to Microsoft’s actions. No-IP blamed Microsoft for inconvenience caused to its customers. They said, Apparently, the Microsoft infrastructure is not able to handle the billions of queries from our customers. Millions of innocent users are experiencing outages to their services because of Microsoft’s attempt to remediate hostnames associated with a few bad actors. Today, Microsoft provided the following statement that they are withdrawing complaints on Vitalwerks in the court and they regrets any inconvenience caused to customers in this process. Microsoft has reviewed the evidence provided by Vitalwerks and enters into the settlement confident that Vitalwerks was not ...

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Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith today(Yes, on Saturday!) blogged about his views on recent ruling regarding consumer privacy by the US supreme court. It was the case of Riley v. California in which court ruled that warrantless searches cannot be extended to mobile devices and government agencies should get a warrant to search a device of the accused. Over time, privacy protection has advanced in key moments. These have involved judges and advocates who appreciated new technologies and found ways to ensure privacy prevailed in a changing world. This week’s unanimous decision by the Supreme Court in the case of Riley v. California ranks with other key historical moments. More than in any other recent decision, the Supreme Court this week advanced privacy in a digital era characterized by ubiquitous computing. As a result, the scales of justice shifted in a profound way toward a new ideal of privacy in a digital ...

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Speaking at the Brookings Institution in Washington, DC, Microsoft’s general counsel and executive vice president, Brad Smith spoke on the on going crisis related to data breach by US government. He said that the government to stop collecting bulk data from technology firms as people will lose trust in companies for storing their data in the cloud. “It needs to be well-designed regulation, it needs to be thoughtful, it needs to be balanced, but we cannot live in the Wild West when we’re talking about information that is this important to people,” he said. “I want law enforcement to do its job in an effective way pursuant to the rule of law,” he said. “If we can’t get to that world, then law enforcement is going to have a bleak future anyway.” He also said that online privacy will become more and more important as billion of new devices will ...

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Last Friday, we reported that AT&T and Verizon has filed their support for Microsoft’s case in the court. Today, Cisco and Apple have joined others by filing a a joint amicus brief detailing their response. Other tech companies are also expected to join Microsoft soon. Back story on what’s going on, Microsoft has a global network of data centers included more than one million computers in more than 100 data centers spread over 40 countries. Microsoft as an enterprise vendor stores data of lots of different organizations and companies around the world in its various data center. As per US law, Microsoft is forced the disclose the content it stores in its data centers on request from agencies like FBI. Microsoft is now challenging the authority of federal prosecutors to force the Microsoft to hand over a customer’s email stored in a data center in Ireland. Microsoft’s argument is that, just ...

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Microsoft has a global network of data centers included more than one million computers in more than 100 data centers spread over 40 countries. Microsoft as an enterprise vendor stores data of lots of different organizations and companies around the world in its various data center. As per US law, Microsoft is forced the disclose the content it stores in its data centers on request from agencies like FBI. Microsoft is now challenging the authority of federal prosecutors to force the Microsoft to hand over a customer’s email stored in a data center in Ireland. Microsoft’s argument is that, just like search warrant for physical goods, US authorities can get data stored only in the US. Recently, AT&T and Verizon has filed their support for Microsoft’s case in the court. In the court filing, Microsoft has mentioned that continuing current government policy would “ultimately erode the leadership of U.S. technology companies in the ...

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Microsoft yesterday sent out email to its users saying that they are updating their terms of use and privacy statement. The update was focused on increasing the privacy, transparency and simplicity. This Microsoft Services Agreement applies to your Microsoft account and includes many of Microsoft’s consumer services such as Outlook.com, OneDrive and Bing, while the privacy statement explains how your personal information is collected, used and protected across your Microsoft account, Outlook.com and OneDrive. Privacy: As part of our ongoing commitment to respecting your privacy, we won’t use your documents, photos or other personal files or what you say in email, chat, video calls or voice mail to target advertising to you. Transparency: We updated our Code of Conduct so that you can understand better the types of behaviour that could affect your account, and added language that parents are responsible for minor children’s use of Microsoft account and services, ...

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Microsoft is staying committed to a promise made by their chief counsel Brad Smith a few months ago. Smith said the company would fight legal demands from U.S. authorities to turn over data stored in Microsoft computing hubs outside the country. The promise was made after former NSA contractor Edward Snowden leaked documents that claimed Microsoft, Google, Yahoo and others were complicit in helping the U.S. government spy on its citizens. Microsoft is opposing a U.S. government demand for a user’s emails stored on company computers outside the country. Microsoft in a court filing dated Friday said it opposed a search warrant for information on a user’s online emails stored in Microsoft’s Ireland data center. Microsoft alluded to the public mistrust of how tech companies protect people’s personal information. “The Government’s position in this case further erodes that trust, and will ultimately erode the leadership of U.S. technology companies in the global market,” ...

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Earlier this week, Brad Smith, General Counsel & Executive Vice President, Legal & Corporate Affairs at Microsoft blogged about need for the U.S. Government to address important privacy issues and others it has created. One year back, it was revealed that the US government did  surveillance of phone and Internet records, sometimes in partnership with others without any proper government orders. There were reports that the US government even hacked in to data centers of various companies to access data illegally as under the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, users have a right to keep their email communications private.  Microsoft wants the following five things the U.S. government still needs to do: Recognize that U.S. search warrants end at U.S. borders: We’re concerned about governmental attempts to use search warrants to force companies to turn over the contents of non-U.S. customer communications that are stored exclusively outside the United States. The U.S. government ...

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A federal court has unsealed court documents stemming from Microsoft’s challenge to an FBI National Security Letter Microsoft recieved late last year. The FBI’s letter in this case sought information about an account belonging to a Microsoft enterprise customer. Like all National Security Letters, this one sought only basic subscriber information. Last December Microsoft committed “to notifying business and government customers when legal orders are related to their data. Where a gag order attempts to prohibit Microsoft from doing this, the company promised to challenge it in court. In this case, the Letter included a nondisclosure provision and the Redmond software giant moved forward to challenge it in court.  Microsoft’s legal counsel concluded that the nondisclosure provision was unlawful and violated our Constitutional right to free expression. The NDA did not allow Microsoft to notify enterprise customers when receive legal orders related to their data. The FBI withdrew its letter following the legal challenge. Microsoft’s chief legal counsel Brad Smith ...

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Today, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) released its fourth annual reportrating technology companies on their efforts to protect customer data from the government. Microsoft was awarded the maximum of 6 stars since Microsoft met every one of six factors that companies were rated against, including the stringency of the legal demands companies require before providing data, their efforts to notify customers about government demands, and more. Microsoft commented the following on this honor, EFF’s award of six out of six stars to Microsoft is a reflection of the guiding principles, practices and policies that Microsoft employs on behalf of all customers. We encourage you to review the report for additional details and trends impacting data privacy. EFF’s report on Microsoft can be read below, Microsoft earns 6 stars in this year’s Who Has Your Back report. We are pleased to see Microsoft requiring a warrant before handing user data to the government ...

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In U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, Google is facing a privacy lawsuit for its data-mining practices of students email in its Google Apps for Education program. Even though the ads are not served for Google Apps for Education users, Google itself admitted that it scanned emails sent and received by students who attend schools that use Apps for Education. Google is using the data to build a profile that could be used for ad targeting outside Google Apps. The data-mining practices behind Google’s Gmail electronic-messaging service violate federal and state wiretap and privacy laws. Gmail is a key feature of Google Apps for Education, which has 30 million users worldwide and is provided by the company for free to thousands of educational institutions in the United States. Student-data-privacy experts contend that the latter claim is contradicted by Google’s own court filings in the California suit. They ...

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Microsoft, Verizon, and other tech giants have long believed that the United States cannot force a company to hand over data stored outside the United States. Verizon’s chief lawyer Randall Milch publically commented on this issue in February. He said that the company’s view is “simple,” adding: “The U.S. government cannot compel us to produce our customers’ data stored in datacenters outside the U.S., and, if it attempts to do so, we would challenge that attempt in court.” Microsoft’s deputy general counsel David Howard also released a statement on the issue: The U.S. government doesn’t have the power to search a home in another country, nor should it have the power to search the content of email stored overseas. Microsoft’s chief legal counsel warned last December that Microsoft would fight any attempt by governments to seize data not located within their country: “…assert available jurisdictional objections to legal demands when governments ...

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In the wake of the  Kibkalo/Canouna controversy Microsoft has made some fundamental privacy changes for Outlook.com (Hotmail) email accounts.  Microsoft general counsel Brad Smith gave us an update on the changes: Effective immediately, if we receive information indicating that someone is using our services to traffic in stolen intellectual or physical property from Microsoft, we will not inspect a customer’s private content ourselves. Instead, we will refer the matter to law enforcement if further action is required. Google, Yahoo, and Apple have made no such changes to their privacy policies.  This is the right move for consumers and Microsoft should be applauded for making the changes.  That being said I think this “controversy” was taken way out of proportion and was twisted and sensationalized by the mainstream anti-Microsoft tech media. Source: Microsoft on the Issues ...

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Microsoft has been under a storm of criticism lately over reading the emails of a blogger’s Hotmail account linked to an ex-Microsoft employee who leaked Windows 8 builds.  Microsoft looked through the Hotmail account without getting a court order.  However, this issue is slightly more nuanced than it seems.  A corporation, in fact, cannot get a court order to search themselves.  Microsoft Vice President and Deputy General Counsel released a statement clarifying the matter: Courts do not issue orders authorizing someone to search themselves, since obviously no such order is needed. So even when we believe we have probable cause, it’s not feasible to ask a court to order us to search ourselves. However, even we should not conduct a search of our own email and other customer services unless the circumstances would justify a court order, if one were available. Microsoft has issued some guidelines on looking customer data during ...

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