We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message
80,259 News Articles

Microsoft applies for new Passport

Password policy amended amid complaints

Microsoft has rapidly rewritten its Passport service's terms of use after customers and privacy advocates complained the document appeared to grant the company ownership of people's content.

Passport lets users register a single user name and password that works at numerous websites. A major Passport site is the company's free web mail site Hotmail. The original terms of use agreement appeared to give Microsoft wide-ranging control of information, including passwords, that its customers store using the Passport service.

Faced with a brewing public relations fiasco, Microsoft posted revised terms of use on Wednesday night, which indicate the company will own only customer communications with Microsoft.

The most user concern was focused on wording that granted Microsoft and unspecified affiliates the right to "use, modify, copy, distribute, transmit, publicly display", and take other actions with any messages, files, or data entered into Passport websites.

Microsoft plans to use its Passport service as a component of other upcoming web-based services including its HailStorm web hosting services. Critics said Microsoft was positioning itself to take control of anything users stored on its servers, from business plans to fiction writing to financial records.

"We were in error for having that up there," says Tom Pilla, a Microsoft spokesman. The company hadn't updated the terms of use to reflect the company's policies and Passport's current privacy statement, he says. The privacy statement would have trumped the erroneous terms of use anyway, he says.


IDG UK Sites

Samsung Galaxy S6 release date, features and specs rumours: When will the Galaxy S6 come out?

IDG UK Sites

Why people aren't upgrading to iOS 8: new features are for power users, not the average Joe

IDG UK Sites

Free rocket & space sounds: NASA launches archive of interstellar audio on SoundCloud

IDG UK Sites

iPad Air 2 review: Insanely fast and alarmingly thin. Speed tests, camera tests, beautiful...