Microsoft admits to snooping in emails – who can you trust on the web?

Microsoft Outlook

Yesterday, Microsoft admitted to doing what we all fear – someone invading our personal emails.

It would seem that nothing is safe from spying eyes anymore – phones are being incepted, people are watching what you’re doing on your computer, and now Microsoft has admitted to reading emails.

The company’s email branch, Hotmail (or more recently known as Outlook) has accessed a Journalist’s emails to track down a leak, and nobody is willing to apologise for it.

Technically, Microsoft doesn’t have to apologise for snooping in the journalist’s inbox as their privacy policy stated, at the time, that they may “access or disclose information about you, including the content of your communications in order to… protect the rights or property of Microsoft”.

Since then, the tech company has strengthened its Privacy Policy to state that it will need to convince two legal teams before snooping in on anyone’s emails in future.

However, the scary thing is, all the other major email providers – whether it be Google, Yahoo, or Apple – have similar Privacy Policies which state that they can, and will, intercept your emails if needed.

I guess it’s always in the back of your mind that a breach like this can happen, but you still go ahead and host your personal, and important emails on a server that is owned by an external company. Since they own the server/s that your communications are stored on, they can do whatever they like, and there’s little laws to stop them.

It raises the question of ‘How safe is your information online’? If Microsoft is willing to have a good look around in your *personal* email inbox, what’s next? Facebook probably read your messages, is someone from your phone network willy nilly reading your text messages? Who knows… and that’s exactly what’s scary, you just don’t know.

The key is trust, and even though it’s only come to light that Microsoft has looked at one journalist’s email inbox, they will have lost trust with hundreds, maybe thousands of their customers who will be scrambling to find a new email host who they feel they can trust. Maybe the truth is, you can’t trust any of them, but unless you’re willing to set up your own server and host your own email service, then there’s not much you can do about it. That’s where Microsoft, and the other big email companies have you trapped, as emails are an essential part of many peoples lives, and they need to have a service like Outlook, Gmail or Yahoo Mail.

Microsoft has recently been fighting against Google over email privacy, and now look what they’ve done. Oops.

There are ways to encrypt your emails so that you, and you only can access them, but is it worth all the hassle and trouble of having a unique key that you need to enter every time you wish to read your email?

Who can you trust? You may think you can trust certain companies, but when you dig into the Terms of Service and Privacy Policies, they can be just as bad. They may not be doing what they shouldn’t be doing yet, but it only needs a trigger…

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