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02.28.10

Leaked Microsoft Handbook Shows Why Ubuntu Should Dump Yahoo!

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Search, Security, Servers, Ubuntu at 4:54 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Yahoo the spook

Summary: Must users of GNU/Linux give Microsoft clues with which to criminalise? If not, then why make it the default option for them?

A reader has sent us the following short post that refers to a Microsoft handbook being leaked to the Internet. It does raise some questions for users who get in contact with Microsoft servers (e.g. users of Ubuntu after the Yahoo-Canonical deal [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]).

Sharing is good, usually. See page 13 of this document:

microsoft-online-services-global-criminal-compliance-handbook.pdf (local copy)

Note that Microsoft and Yahoo were sharing detailed information about their customers before 2008. This should be a red flag for Ubuntu about handing over their users to Microsoft via Yahoo. If things were that bad two years ago while Yahoo was fighting the take over, imagine how bad they are now.

Another problem I’ve noticed is that Microsoft is already ruining Yahoo mail by making it look just like Hotmail. A friend of mine was dumbfounded when the interface change happened. Instead of normal links, right mouse clicks were disabled with a useless custom menu and real tabs were replaced with crummy fake ones in the browser tab. To say that the new interface made reading email a pain would be an understatement. The poor guy thought he was losing his mind and was relieved when I was able to fix things. The “classic” interface is available but normal users won’t find the button in the clutter. The option will vanish after enough people fail to press the button and some Microsoft mole says, “See everyone likes the Hotmail interface better!” Microsoft delusions are self perpetuating.

Thoughts welcome. The following banner might even be better, but we’re still working on something informative yet simple. Maybe we should turn the two “O”s into eyeballs.

Yahoo the spook second version

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5 Comments

  1. NotZed said,

    February 28, 2010 at 6:59 am

    Gravatar

    All online service providers do this … google too, but i bet they try to keep that secret to try to white-wash their image.

    It’s a particularly interesting prospect for those of us not based in the same country as the service. Local laws which may protect privacy further can be easily subverted, etc.

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    What I was trying to say though is that Microsoft will gather this data. Consider for example a Microsoft database of all IP addresses of GNU/Linux users and how the company can strategise advertisements. Don’t underestimate Microsoft’s BI.

    Remember that Microsoft also uses Windows Update to get a list of all applications a Windows user has installed (including competitors like Mozilla). It can track changes over time.

  2. your_friend said,

    February 28, 2010 at 11:35 am

    Gravatar

    Are you entirely sure that Google will have the actual name of a Yahoo contact when a contact is added to a Google contact list? We know that the Google user will be given some information but we don’t know that Google is also given that information and if it is the actual contact name rather than some kind of user provided pen name. More importantly, the reverse may not true and Google probably gives a more limited subset of user information to other users, other ISPs and law enforcement. It is fair for us to look at this document and say what Microsoft does. It is not fair to look at this and say what Google does. Microsoft’s continued efforts to smear a relatively innocent Google for all of Microsoft’s sins are abundantly clear.

  3. your_friend said,

    February 28, 2010 at 11:37 am

    Gravatar

    The previous comment was made in reply to NotZed.

  4. your_friend said,

    February 28, 2010 at 12:01 pm

    Gravatar

    Oh yes, the issue of local laws is very interesting. The first thing Microsoft says is that all of the information is stored in the US. [Hmmm, searching and quoting the document is difficult. Microsoft innovation has somehow made the visible text return gibberish on cut and paste, quoting manually as if the document were an image.]

    All legal process for criminal matters from non-U.S. law enforcement, prosecutors and courts must be directed to Microsoft Corporation, One Microsoft Way … and not to Microsoft’s local subsidiary as all Microsoft Online Services customer data is stored in the U.S.

    In the past Microsoft has been happy to comply with the oppressive wishes of foreign governments, such as closing US based blogs about China. Because the information actually resides in the US, it is clear that it is actually under US control except for business interests. It is doubtful, for example, that China would exert force to retrieve data Microsoft refused to share. It’s likely that Microsoft goes above and beyond what they advertise in this police sales material and that they do it for $50/hour – please hold while we take your call.

    Microsoft’s ability and willingness to keep data to themselves is another matter. Microsoft’s character will have them sell to the highest bidder, they were unable to keep their source code secrets to themselves and Sidekick Danger shows they can’t keep things at all. No one should trust those greedy clowns.

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