Friday, March 21, 2014
Microsoft "spies" on customer email to catch intellectual property theft
Microsoft seems to have been within its legal rights when it perused customer private email to track down a violation of its own security and intellectual property rights, by Russian Alrx Kibkalo, who leaked proprietary Windows code to a French blogger (so far unidentified) in 2012. But there is an outrage in the blogosphere anyway, according to a Business Day story by Nick Wingleid and Nick Bilton in the New York Times Friday, link here.
The Verge (Vox Media) has a story on the arrest of the Russian, written by Tom Warren, here.
The Electronic Communications Privacy Act allows service providers to read customer material if necessary for security purposes.
One could make the point, “maybe you shouldn’t be doing it.” True. I don’t have any interest in leaking proprietary code or content. The sensitive information passed to me has been more along the line of tips (particularly several years ago) which have Homeland Security implications. Whether I republish them depends on the circumstances (not always), but I don’t claim any “journalist privilege” if something falls into my hands. It can.