Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) plans to come up with stricter policies to protect Hotmail account holders from spying and searching activities. The move follows the ongoing saga of former Microsoft employee Alex Kibkalo, who has been accused of leaking secret documents.
Kibkalo incident an eye-opener
Kibkalo was arrested last week for selling trade secrets related to Windows 8. It has been alleged that Kibkalo and another Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) employee in Lebanon leaked secret data on Windows 8 to a blogger in France, whose identity could not be revealed. The employee was believed to be providing links to file on his account.
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A petition filed with the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington, revealed that Kibkalo shared proprietary software along with the prerelease software updates for Windows 8 RT and ARM devices, and the company’s Activation Server Software Development Kit (SDK) to a remote computer in Redmond, Washington, and also to his personal Windows Live SkyDrive account.
More rigorous process from Microsoft
This incident forced Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) to come up with a “rigorous process before reviewing [Hotmail accounts of users],” said John Frank, deputy general counsel for Microsoft, in a blog post. The executive went on to explain that the company would never read a user’s email unless a court order is granted. Microsoft would follow all the standards to get a court order. If an order asking to search an e-mail comes, then a legal team of the internal investigating committee would come into play. If the search turns up something malicious, then the evidence will be re-examined by Microsoft’s external legal counsel outside the company.
“The privacy of our customers is incredibly important to us. That is why we are building on our current practices and adding to them to further strengthen our processes and increase transparency,” the blog said. Also, Microsoft said that the search, which will be supervised by counsel, will only focus on the subject of investigation.
To prove its commitment to ensuring transparency concerning governmental or court orders, Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT), in its bi-annual transparency report, will be including the number of searches conducted and the number of users scanned, according to CNET.