Microsoft merges user agreements for online services

Microsoft has changed the terms and conditions for its online services to allow it to reuse data, documents and photos submitted by customers in order to improve all services, not just the service that collected that content.

Until now, Microsoft’s service agreement for offerings including cluding Hotmail, and cloud storage platform SkyDrive has stated that the company can use content uploaded by the customer “solely to the extent necessary to provide the service”.

As of October, however, a new services agreement will allow it to use content to “provide, protect and improve” all “Microsoft products and services”.

Microsoft says the update will allow it to use information from emails, chats or photos to help detect and protect against spam or malware, or to add new features to services.

In the amended services agreement, Microsoft states that the full range services covered by the agreement include Hotmail, SkyDrive, Microsoft account, Windows Live Messenger, Microsoft Photo gallery, Microsoft Movie Maker, Microsoft Mail Desktop, Bing, MSN and

Google caused controversy earlier this year when it announced it would be making similar changes to its privacy policy.Writing on the company’s blog in January, Alan Whitten, Google’s Director of Privacy, announced that the change was mainly related to users’ Google Accounts.

“Our new Privacy Policy makes clear that, if you’re signed in, we may combine information you’ve provided from one service with information from other services. In short, we’ll treat you as a single user across all our products, which will mean a simpler, more intuitive Google experience,” he wrote.

However, EU justice commissioner said that she believed the changes broke EU law.

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Ben Rossi

Ben was Vitesse Media's editorial director, leading content creation and editorial strategy across all Vitesse products, including its market-leading B2B and consumer magazines, websites, research and...

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