Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Microsoft creating user agreement that gives them more rights, takes effect October 19

Microsoft is upading its online services with a new agreement, and it gives them more rights with your data.

As stated above, the new user agreement wull take place a little more then a month from now.

This new agreement has some changes that are bound to upset some users. The Verge took two sections of the agreement to compare. After looking at Microsoft's new agreement, look at Google's. You'll see soon enough that the agreements are very similar, and some might even take this as Microsoft being scary!
Old: “You understand that Microsoft may need, and you hereby grant Microsoft the right, to use, modify, adapt, reproduce, distribute, and display content posted on the service solely to the extent necessary to provide the service.”

New: “When you upload your content to the services, you agree that it may be used, modified, adapted, saved, reproduced, distributed, and displayed to the extent necessary to protect you and to provide, protect and improve Microsoft products and services. For example, we may occasionally use automated means to isolate information from email, chats, or photos in order to help detect and protect against spam and malware, or to improve the services with new features that makes them easier to use. When processing your content, Microsoft takes steps to help preserve your privacy.”
There is also a voice change in this. The new clause is now in passive voice. Whereas users previously granted Microsoft the specific right to do those things, they now agree that their content “may be used” for those things, with no explicit reference to who would be doing the using, as long as it benefits Microsoft services.

Google got some fire for creating a universal privacy policy for all of its services. Also with this was a new clause to allow Google to tie together your information from all of your services. This makes it a little bit harder to control your data, but it does mean one thing, and that one thing is that they have more info about you to sell to advertisers. Sick, creepy, and utterly wrong, isn't it? I don't know how the federal government here in the United States allows companies to mine data off of you like that, but then again you are using their services and thus you are agreeing to whatever malicious tactics they want to perform on you...

Here is Google's clause:
When you upload or otherwise submit content to our Services, you give Google (and those we work with) a worldwide license to use, host, store, reproduce, modify, create derivative works (such as those resulting from translations, adaptations or other changes we make so that your content works better with our Services), communicate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute such content. The rights you grant in this license are for the limited purpose of operating, promoting, and improving our Services, and to develop new ones.
The bottom line is that both of the policies sound a lot more similar, but Google appears to have a little bit more "freedom" with your information by specifically stating that they can share your information with their partners as well.

Microsoft’s changes also include a provision blocking class-action claims and requiring users to instead go to arbitration or small claims court in the case of a dispute with the company. Microsoft had previously signaled its intention to do this, following in the footsteps of several other companies and taking advantage of a U.S. Supreme Court decision that allowed such clauses.

As stated before, this new policy won't be going into effect until October 19. Let me know of your thoughts in the comments below.