This is mostly about Microsoft Passport, but please add anything you know about related issues on MS software.

Basically, Microsoft is taking a very disturbing approach to intellectual property. Lately they've linked their various sites using Passport technology. It's meant to be a "single sign-in" deal where you have one identity across all those sites. It also comes with a "wallet" system allowing you to store information online. Now here's the ugly part:

"By posting messages, uploading files, inputting data, submitting any feedback or suggestions, or engaging in any other form of communication with or through the Passport Web Site, you warrant and represent that you own or otherwise control the rights necessary to do so and you are granting Microsoft and its affiliated companies permission to:

  1. Use, modify, copy, distribute, transmit, publicly display, publicly perform, reproduce, publish, sublicense, create derivative works from, transfer, or sell any such communication.
  2. Sublicense to third parties the unrestricted right to exercise any of the foregoing rights granted with respect to the communication.
  3. Publish your name in connection with any such communication.

The foregoing grants shall include the right to exploit any proprietary rights in such communication, including but not limited to rights under copyright, trademark, service mark or patent laws under any relevant jurisdiction. No compensation will be paid with respect to Microsoft's use of the materials contained within such communication. Microsoft is under no obligation to post or use any materials you may provide and may remove such materials at any time in Microsoft's sole discretion."

This was taken directly from their terms of use, in the "License to Microsoft" section. (Current URL:

Then there's HailStorm, a recently announced application of Microsoft's .NET technology. From an Associated Press article: "In its final form, HailStorm will keep track of everything a computer user can imagine, from credit card numbers to calendars to address books. From there, the system will provide people with a way to easily make purchases or conduct other transactions online, or to be notified of certain things via a variety of electronic devices."

In other words, HailStorm would centralize your personal information and store it on a Microsoft-owned server. Combine that with the Passport terms of use and you get a scary picture. A recent Salon article ("Microsoft Storm Warning" by Scott Rosenberg) examines the issue in more detail.

You have to be amazed at those terms of use and their casual "we own your data" attitude.

April 4, 2001: Shortly after this aberration was exposed, Microsoft has modified the PassPort terms of use. The beginning of the passage cited above now reads: "By submitting any feedback or suggestions to Microsoft concerning the Passport Web Site or the Passport Service [...]". This is better, but in no way reassuring. Those terms are subject to change, and Microsoft clearly states it won't bother warning users about any further changes.

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.