Apple, Yahoo and Google reserve the right to read user emails


Microsoft was under fire earlier this week for accessing a user’s Hotmail account in order to identify the source of an internal leak. Microsoft, though, is not the only technology company that reserves the right to access customer emails — the terms of service for Apple, Yahoo and Google all contain a similar provision, reports The Guardian.

Microsoft, as well as Apple, Yahoo and Google, use wording that allows each company to access content when doing so is necessary to protect company property. Microsoft used this ability to identify a tipster who provided a French blogger with source code for Windows 8 and the information required to activate the software. Former Microsoft software architect Alex Kibkalo was identified as the source of the leak and arrested in Seattle this week. Apple users are not exempt from this type of intrusion as Apple exerts the same rights as Microsoft. Apple’s terms of service states:

Apple “may, without liability to you, access… your Account information and Content… if we have a good faith belief that such access… is reasonably necessary to… protect the… property… of Apple”.

Following negative backlash over reading a user’s email, Microsoft has changed its privacy policy, now requiring an internal and external legal team to review Microsoft-originated access requests and increased transparency when these requests are made.