It seems like the last thing the technology industry needs is another privacy scandal. Unfortunately, Microsoft has found itself in one following the revelation that the company snooped through a blogger’s Hotmail inbox in order to uncover an anonymous source.
This week, the technology giant admitted to looking through a blogger’s emails in order to identify the source of leaked company information. The anonymous blogger was receiving details, screenshots, and code for the as-yet-unreleased Windows 8 operating system in 2012.
The revelation came to light as part of the legal case against former Microsoft employee Alex Kibalko, a Russian national based in the firm’s Lebanon office.
Since the Hotmail service (now known as Outlook.com) belongs to Microsoft, the inbox search conducted by the company was technically legal. Microsoft’s terms of service state clearly that information in accounts stored on its “Communication Services” can be accessed by the company; email inboxes fall squarely into this category. Legal though it may be, the act is viewed as a major breach of user privacy.