Microsoft has changed the terms and conditions for its net-based services, bringing in some potentially far-reaching changes to how it interacts with users and their data.
Effective September 27, the new agreement gives Microsoft the right to access users' uploaded content, which "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".
This lets Microsoft perform spam and malware detection on user-uploaded content and also allows for targeted advertising and personalised Bing search results.
Microsoft may also "automatically upload information about your machine, your use of the services and service performance".
"Your privacy is important to us," Microsoft wrote. "We use certain information that we collect from you to operate and provide the services."
The new agreement further requires users to waive the right to file class action lawsuits against Microsoft, about the services, in the US. Instead, the American Arbitration Association will be in charge of hearing disputes.
"If you live in the United States, Section 10 containts a binding arbitration clause and class action waiver. It affects your rights about how to resolve any dispute with Microsoft. Please read it," Microsoft noted at the top of the new agreement.
The new agreement covers SkyDrive, Live Messenger, Photo Gallery, Movier Maker, Writer, Bing, MSN, Office.com as well as "any other software, website or sevice that links to this agreement".
It also covers Microsoft accounts, used for the Windows operating system, Xbox Live, Windows Phone and other such products.
Microsoft has also introduced a requirement that users sign in at least once every 270 days to keep services active.
"If you fail to sign in during this period, we may cancel your access to Microsoft branded services," according to the agreement. "Your data may be permanently deleted from our servers."
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Issue: 331 | September 2014
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