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Microsoft like many companies is under tremendous pressure to find new revenue, especially after reporting a record loss of $2.1 billion for the most recent 3-month reporting period. Perhaps unrelated, the new Microsoft Privacy Policy and Service Agreement went into effect on 1 August 2015

“We will access, disclose and preserve personal data, including your content (such as the content of your emails, other private communications or files in private folders), when we have a good-faith belief that doing so is necessary to”, for example, “protect their customers” or “enforce the terms governing the use of the services”.

Yes, it says files in private folders. It gets better…

“To enable Cortana to provide personalized experiences and relevant suggestions, Microsoft collects and uses various types of data, such as your device location, data from your calendar, the apps you use, data from your emails and text messages, who you call, your contacts and how often you interact with them on your device.

Wow, data from your emails and text messages, even your calendar. I wonder if they track my purchases and search history…

Cortana also learns about you by collecting data about what you view and purchase, your browser and Bing search history, and if you use a lock screen.” Cortana analyses undefined “speech data”: “we collect your voice input, your recent calendar events and the names of the people in your appointments, and information about your contacts including names and nicknames.”

OK, so they develop a model of my life. They clearly won’t share it with anyone, right?

We share your personal data with your consent or as necessary to complete any transaction or provide any service you have requested or authorized. We also share data with Microsoft-controlled affiliates and subsidiaries; with vendors working on our behalf; when required by law or to respond to legal process; to protect our customers; to protect lives; to maintain the security of our services; and to protect the rights or property of Microsoft.

To top it off, the company appears to be granting itself the right to share your data either with your consent “or as necessary”.

  1. Contribution by Kirsten Fiedler and Heini Järvinen, EDRi
  2. Microsoft Privacy Statement
  3. Microsoft Services Agreement