User beware! Microsoft update their services agreement – user content is portable now

This week, Microsoft updated its services agreement.

These were very BIG changes too with subtle, yet potentially significant changes to its policy on privacy and dispute settlement.

The company notified users, informing them that the new Terms of Service would go into effect on October 19th.

Microsoft’s revised policy allows the company to access and display user content across all of its cloud properties.

This is markedly different from the previous version of the TOS which granted Microsoft the right to appropriate user content “solely to the extent necessary to provide the service,”.

The new terms now state that this content can be used to “provide, protect and improve Microsoft products and services.

This means, for example, that Microsoft can extract content from cloud-based services like Hotmail, SkyDrive, or Office.com, and use it to personalize a user’s Bing search results. The company alluded to this change in its email to users, explaining that such content usage would align “to the way we’re designing our cloud services to be highly integrated across many Microsoft products.”

Microsoft also added a class action waiver to its contract, which requires users in the US to settle disputes with arbitration rather than litigation. This effectively waives a user’s right to sue Microsoft in court.

Now you know, make your choices accordingly.

🙂

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  • Rex

    In general, I understand this change, as Google does similar things. However, I think no matter what agreement MS makes with users, there is still an implicit level of personal infromation that is not public. If MS is too loose with this, it matters not at all that they are protected legally, they will tarnish whatever good will they have earned over the last couple years. If any pictures I put in my skydrive without sharing to the open public become available in a Bing search, I will remove all data immediately. And I guess 99% of the user base will do the same.