It appeared that Microsoft is not the only company claiming the right to read users’ emails. Other tech giants, including Apple, Yahoo and Google, also reserve that right. After Microsoft’s admission that it has a right to read a user’s Hotmail account during an investigation of an internal leak, major webmail services also claimed the right to read emails if it is necessary to protect their property.
Microsoft’s terms of service allow the company to read users’ emails, if this is necessary to protect its own property. This is why the company read the email of an unnamed blogger who had allegedly got the source code to Windows 8 after an internal leak at Microsoft.
Now it turned out that other major email providers reserved exactly the same rights. For example, Yahoo warns users that it may access their account information and content if it is reasonably necessary to protect its own rights. As for Google, its terms also inform that Google may access users’ account information and any content associated with those accounts if so is needed to protect against imminent harm to Google’s property. Finally, Apple also may access users’ content under similar conditions.
It seems that of the major webmail providers, only Microsoft was ready to share the internal procedures it has in place determining who can access users’ email without a court order and in what case. Other tech giants didn’t provide any comment on this issue.
The security experts point out that the problem is that it’s a technically legal activity that all users agree to when they sign up to certain cloud services – whether knowingly or not. Everyone knows that nobody actually read the full Terms and Conditions before launching a new app, but many would probably be surprised by what they are actually agreeing to by clicking the “accept” button. So, be ready to find your email read by the company which provides its services – well, only if you are doing something wrong, of course.