Redmond has reared its ugly head and roared, slamming government document tipster site Cryptome with a DMCA notice and getting the site taken down by its hosting provider, Network Solutions, all because it dared to post Microsoft’s boring and standard surveillance compliance policy.
The document, which is likely very similar to that of a multitude of other firms’ government compliance documents, lets the powers that be know exactly what info Microsoft can and can’t give them about users if they are required to hand it over.
Reproduced on Wired in its full 22 page glory, the Microsoft Online Services Global Criminal Compliance Handbook is not exactly thrilling John Le Carre style stuff, but does contain a couple of mildly ‘good to know’ tidbits, like the fact Xbox Live records every IP address a user ever logs in with and stores them all forever and ever.
Which is apparently useful if you get burgled and can provide police with your gamertag, so they can track the criminals as soon as they log on to the net with their stolen prize.
Or that Microsoft only keeps hold of the last 10 login records for Windows Live ID and doesn’t store MSN chats, so if you want to plan a bank heist, best do it over messenger folks.
The best Microsoft says it can do in terms of helping the filth pin you down for something using messenger, is to hand over your friend list. But good luck to them tracking down FairyDust999.
Another mostly irrelevant bit of info is that if you are one of the very few people in the world who finds any use for Microsoft’s "Live Spaces" quasi attempt at a social network, then beware that the firm will turn in all your photos and postings to the feds if requested to do so. Not just one posting or photo, mind, because Microsoft for some odd reason won’t do that, but it can hand over the whole shebang.
That’s it really. Nothing much more to see here, but somehow Microsoft, and Yahoo before it back in December, felt the need to make a big stink about Cryptome posting the document, and despite the site owner’s counterclaim filing, his hosting provider, Network Solutions has booted him off and locked the domain name.
Apparently Microsoft now has 14 business days to start a legal process against Cryptome, or the site will be reinstated to its former whistleblowing glory.
Ars Technica says that the site’s editor, John Young, said both Microsoft and Yahoo "behaved like assholes," and that he has moved his site to a new host, so the general public can still see the documents they should be entitled to see anyway.
Also, due to the publicity garnered by the DCMA takedown notice and the site’s subsequent removal, Cryptome has gained overnight notoriety in the mainstream public, which could almost be hailed a victory for freedom of expression, in a roundabout kind of way.
Guess that will serve the likes of multibillion dollar bullies like Microsoft, Yahoo and even the do-no-evil Google monster right for bringing a plague of lawyers and lawsuits down on the little man’s head.
Score one for general public, nil for corporate "assholes."