Here is some news that is bound to make even Snoopy chuckle. Microsoft courted a fair bit of controversy when it was revealed recently that the company snooped through a user’s Hotmail account.
Sure, it was due to a criminal conspiracy of a former employee stealing and passing on trade secrets, but the fact remains that Microsoft did not obtain an outside warrant before going into the email inbox.
Now, while Google usually likes to take the silent (and some would say sneaky) approach when it comes to Microsoft, the general counsel for the search engine giant refuted a claim by TechCrunch founder and former editor Michel Arrington.
The man talked about this on his personal blog saying that he was almost certain that Google accessed his Gmail account after he broke a major story about the company while still at TechCrunch.
And now in a very direct statement, Kent Walker said that it would be hard to imagine Google doing something like this:
“While our terms of service might legally permit such access, we have never done this and it’s hard for me to imagine circumstances where we would investigate a leak in that way.”
Interesting talk — but I guess it all comes down to how serious or critical a leak is. Hard to imagine, but not entirely out of the realm of possibility. Large companies rarely go the last mile for user privacy.
Still, Microsoft, for its part, also had to deal with a bit of a backlash after it its leaking accident, and the software titan has now stated that a separate legal team will make recommendation for its investigative group on whether or not to go into a Hotmail or Outlook.com account.