Microsoft is not the only company which reserves itself the right to read user emails. It seems that Yahoo, Google and Apple also do the same.
All webmail giants claim that they keep this right to read user emails, but only if absolutely necessary. According to a new report by the Guardian, all these tech giants think that it is absolutely normal to access the emails of users, if “deemed necessary.”
This report comes after Microsoft admitted that they reserve themselves the right to read the Hotmail account of a journalist. The scandal broke after the company accessed this account with the purpose to track down the source of an internal leak. Naturally, this decision has led to quite a big scandal.
However, Microsoft reserves itself the right to access content on the services it provides, so this includes a Hotmail account, as well. Accessing such an account is possible when “when Microsoft forms a good faith belief that doing so is necessary [to] protect the… property of Microsoft,” the company claims. Still, accessing the account of the journalist in this case was considered to be an abuse.
Reports indicated that Microsoft went to access this account, as it seems that the journalist received a source code to Windows 8, after an internal leak within the company. However, now it seems that Microsoft is not the only company whose policy allows it to access the email accounts of users.
Apparently, Yahoo, Google and Apple services are all based on the same policy. For instance, Yahoo asks uses to “acknowledge, consent and agree that Yahoo may access… your account information and Content.” Google asks users to “acknowledge and agree that Google may access… your account information and any Content associated with that account. Apple “may, without liability to you, access… your Account information and Content,” their policy says.
So, when using these services, you need to make sure that you know exactly what they are asking you. Microsoft has already publicly talked about this issue, defending its right to access the accounts of its customers and read their emails. The company admitted that this is a more sensitive topic, but claims that they might bring some improvements on this aspect.