Google: It's hard to imagine us snooping in Gmail to investigate company leaks

The controversy over Microsoft going into a user's Hotmail account as part of an internal leak investigation without a warrant in 2012 won't go away. Today, the general counsel for Google, Kent Walker, said it would be hard to imagine the company doing a similar thing with Gmail accounts.

Walker's statement came as a response to an accusation from TechCrunch founder and former editor Michael Arrington. A few days ago, on his personal blog, Arrington said that he was "nearly certain" that while he was still at TechCrunch his Gmail account was accessed by Google after he broke a major story concerning the company.

In a statement sent to Re/code, Walker flat out denies the accusation, saying, "While our terms of service might legally permit such access, we have never done this and it’s hard for me to imagine circumstances where we would investigate a leak in that way."

Microsoft has already stated that it will now have a separate internal legal team make a recommendation for its investigative group on whether or not to go inside a Hotmail or Outlook.com account, but some groups, such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation, they feel the company needs to get an outside warrant for any search of that type.

Google does scan Gmail accounts to serve up ads for the service. That policy is the center of a recently filed lawsuit in California, which claims that Google's actions violate the state's privacy laws.

Source: Re/code | Image via Google

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You must be nuts! Although I don't really "trust" either.

It's hard for me to imagine they are even coming close to telling the truth in just the title of the article, let alone read all the gibberish he his spewing about it.

If Google's current proprietary web search ranking algorithm was leaked and was being stored on a Gmail account, Google would nuke that account so fast and search for the leaker.

I still don't see how they can legally look through a private persons account without a warrant or subpoena being served to the person of interest seeing as this was not done for any law enforcement agency but rather their own company .... Fair enough if it was an MS employees account then they have every right to but it wasn't was it

Point of law is whether a warrant is even required for any company to search user data on its own servers, especially when said user has agreed to the company's TOS and then is blatantly violating it in the worst way possible. "Shouldn't have done" and "illegal" are far removed from each other.

Athlonite said,
I still don't see how they can legally look through a private persons account without a warrant or subpoena being served to the person of interest seeing as this was not done for any law enforcement agency but rather their own company

That's the point. It wasn't done for any law enforcement agency. Law enforcement agencies can't conduct searches without a warrant. Private companies can. Microsoft reserved this right in the TOS... to search accounts in violation of the law to prevent themselves being equally liable (like child porn) and to protect their own IP (this case).

Google even agrees that it's legal, although they are pretending they wouldn't do the same.

ah but there in lies the crux of the matter the IP was nicked by a former MS employee but the email account belonged to a blogger they only suspected of being in contact with the ms employee not the MS employees account itself. They should still have asked the blogger first if he minded regardless of whether he/she had agreed to some TOS that they probably didn't even read through

Athlonite said,
They should still have asked the blogger first if he minded
"Oh Mr. Thief who's trying to profit from our trade secrets, do you mind awfully if we look through your mail account which you used to transfer said stolen goods?" Lol.

Whilst this constitutes Google stating they /might/ not do this if the same circumstances present themselves as faced Microsoft (which -lets remember- was the possibility of criminal action taking place), it does not constitute a statement that it has never happened, or wouldn't happen in /other/ circumstances. Nor does it constitute any real clear definition that Google have not in fact allowed law or intelligence agencies access to user mailboxes either 'openly' or as part of any surreptitious order (ie, NSA, but also other, criminal investigative groups).

What the Microsoft situation revealed is that Microsoft have ToS rights, and a technical capability to look into a users Hotmail / Outlook.com mailbox. This shouldn't really come as any surprise to users of either Outlook.com, Gmail, or indeed any of the other myriad of email services out there.

What now seems to have developed, is a turfwar over whether or not 'spying' on your email box is some sort of routine activity that Microsoft engage in, with privacy a discarded concept that Microsoft conveniently ignore.

I for one, don't believe this to be true of either Microsoft or Google, (leaving aside the question of scanning your emails to serve ads). Neither company would risk such lax privacy rules given the likelihood of an outcry if the whistle was blown, and I personally believe this Microsoft case is an isolated incident - not the norm. To declare otherwise is frankly to begin to stray into conspiracy theory territory, and whilst I know some tin-foil-hat wearers may believe that Microsoft are the big-evil corp, I frankly think that concept is a lot of hot air.

I do believe that the case of the NSA and GCHQ does raise a far bigger privacy concern, as it effectively means both Google and Microsoft are being forced to open up user data for government inspection, and are being barred from effectively reporting that they're having to do this.

Putting my 'Pro Microsoft' hat on for a moment (ok, bigger than the one I'm already clearly wearing) I firmly believe that those who declare that invasion of user privacy would somehow be 'typical Microsoft' is to ignore that Microsoft are a reformed company. In fact, Microsoft were /forced/ to reform at legal knifepoint in both the US and EU. Google meanwhile have had no such administrative oversight ever placed on them, and whilst I'm not saying Microsoft are a perfect organisation, I do believe that blind faith in Google's 'Do No Evil' Mantra is unwarranted.

Rallicat said,
In fact, Microsoft were /forced/ to reform at legal knifepoint in both the US and EU. Google meanwhile have had no such administrative oversight ever placed on them

Microsoft's trouble with law on US and EU had nothing to do with this specific kind of issue, so they weren't forced to reform anything related in any way with privacy. It was all about abuse of privileged market possition.

Google on the other hand is currently being observed quite closely right now precisely for privacy related issues.

ichi said,

Microsoft's trouble with law on US and EU had nothing to do with this specific kind of issue, so they weren't forced to reform anything related in any way with privacy. It was all about abuse of privileged market possition.

Google on the other hand is currently being observed quite closely right now precisely for privacy related issues.

If the assertion here is that Microsoft's thorough investigation for abuses of a dominant position would not have a general impact on other aspects of their business then I would challenge that.

I don't know exactly what procedures and practices may have changed at Microsoft as a result of their legal issues and government oversight, however I'm guessing that it's probably not entirely contained to just ensuring they don't engage in anti-competitive practices.

Would it be common sense to assume that in other areas of Microsoft's business, they still engage in some 'questionable' practices? Yes. Would it also be common sense to assume that their brush with the law (which, lets be fair, was a little more than just a 'brush') would have had an impact on how they do business overall and approach issues that impact on the view of Microsoft as a trustworthy business? Probably.

Reality is likely in the middle ground, but I stand by my statement that an organisation that's been dragged through the legal mud might well change its ways - even if just a little.

It is quite right that Google is under scrutiny, but make no mistake, that doesn't mean that -as with Microsoft' there are government appointed oversight representatives actually /inside/ Google cracking open how they do business, and how they maintain privacy.

Google's point along the journey toward being a trustworthy company is far behind that of Microsoft's. Google are still largely in the position of not believing they're doing anything wrong, so if you're implying that they are delivering a higher standard of privacy because they're being watched, then I'd challenge that too.

In the early days of Microsoft's Anti-Trust hearings, the company was extremely resistant, and indeed Bill Gates himself was recalcitrant in his answering of questions related to practices like the bundling of IE with Windows. They likely didn't think they were doing anything wrong either. Just adding software to Windows - /their/ product, part of /their/ core business.

Google's don't feel they're doing much wrong either. Whether its bypassing browser privacy settings(1), slurping WiFi data(2) or passing off content owners material as their own(3) - it's engaging it in practices that are attracting attention, and that attention in and of itself is not bringing about change in Google's behaviour, and it's my belief that until they're held more aggresively to account, they won't truly take the issue of trust seriously.

1: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-19200279
2: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-23002166
3: http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/397b...11e3-98c6-00144feab7de.html

(On reference '3' above - note that Google are also having to change it's ways in other areas too, including /exactly/ the same sort of thing Microsoft were found guilty of - locking out the competition).

Well maybe I'm being a bit skeptical but considering that MS has been in trouble several times over similar issues (similar as in related to abuse of privileged market possition) and in some instances only dragged to compliance through repeated fines, I'm not really buying that any of that might have actually made such an impact in other of their business areas when it wasn't even changing their ways in that specific one.

Public companies (both Microsoft and Google, and any other) are much like kids: they'll be always gently pushing the limits seeing how far they can get until they get slapped.

Sure google whatever, I'm sure it depends on what was leaked and how critical the leak was; you're no angels and neither are any of the other tech companies to include MS and Apple.

What I don't get though is, any work place can in theory look at your emails for investigation purposes, if lets say there is a lawsuit between you and the company. Is the issue here weather companies have warrants to do so?

I just don't like how these companies take liberties with our privacy. They have every right to freeze the account (so content can not be modified) and they have every right to get a court order / search warrant (which i can't imagine that being that hard or taking that long). To go willy nilly poking through emails even with reasonable suspicion seems like a reach. I am curious if the evidence obtain will hold valid in court.

astrokat said,
I am curious if the evidence obtain will hold valid in court.
Obviously they were deemed valid because a judge signed off on them when presented as evidence by an FBI agent.

Right... if they were put into that situation, where a criminal act was performed, i'm sure they would have done the same.... but of course it would have been more hush hush.

Also, they say not for leaks, but they'll for sure do it for advertising and data mining.

It's one thing for a machine or code to scan email and present ads, it's totally another for an employee/s to open someone's inbox and read their mail.

What if an Outlook.com user was having an affair with Natya Sadella's wife? Does Sadella, being Microsoft's CEO, have the ability to exercise his right under the Outlook.com ToS, to look into the user's email address for clues of (supposed) affair?

VictorWho said,
What if an Outlook.com user was having an affair with Natya Sadella's wife? Does Sadella, being Microsoft's CEO, have the ability to exercise his right under the Outlook.com ToS, to look into the user's email address for clues of (supposed) affair?

Have you been going through my emails :p

amnesiality said,
You'd be very stupid to use outlook.com then, like those two leakers were.

Maybe you don't use outlook.com, yet send a mail to thewife@sadella.com which you might not know that is actually hosted at outlook.com.

Read the TOS of Google and MS and others to figure that out, or ask your lawyer if you're unable to interpret what rights you give up by agreeing to them.

VictorWho said,
What if an Outlook.com user was having an affair with Natya Sadella's wife? Does Sadella, being Microsoft's CEO, have the ability to exercise his right under the Outlook.com ToS, to look into the user's email address for clues of (supposed) affair?

No, he doesn't, and he couldn't do it on his own. He'd have to raise the issue with the legal department to hand over the encryption keys - and they would know that the TOS does not allow reading user data for that reason.

Romero said,
Read the TOS of Google and MS and others to figure that out, or ask your lawyer if you're unable to interpret what rights you give up by agreeing to them.

Weird world we live in, when we have to read the TOS to have an affair with another man's wife :D

ichi said,
Weird world we live in, when we have to read the TOS to have an affair with another man's wife :D
"He who commits adultery lacks sense; he who does it destroys himself."

"If a man is found lying with the wife of another man, both of them shall die, the man who lay with the woman, and the woman."

and so on and so forth. There you go, TOS for you to follow, and it's not new either. :)

You don't necessarily have to, your folks might have done it for you. ;) At least over here people don't have a say in getting dunked in water when they are infants (though of course they're free to do what they want on growing up and developing a mind of their own).

Romero said,
You don't necessarily have to, your folks might have done it for you. ;) At least over here people don't have a say in getting dunked in water when they are infants (though of course they're free to do what they want on growing up and developing a mind of their own).

Worse than that... no say in getting their private parts mutilated, either.

This thing about "Google scanning email" is often spun as an intrusion. It's an algorithm not a human doing the scanning. Federal Law trumps all private agreements or contracts that is or can be made by private parties. It is a federal law for a person's right to privacy. If there is a discrepancy, the courts look at the Federal Law,...not the terms of the agreement. If there is still more discrepancy we take it to court to get it settled.

With that said, the word "Privacy" needs to be defined in regards to this matter. Does it mean an actual (human) person invading another person's personal property? Is a password protected area in the cloud considered "personal?" If these are some components that define "privacy" within this issue, then Google is all in the clear. That's because (according to them) no person has ever invaded another's private property without express consent or permission. With the case of Microsoft, it has.

VictorWho said,
That's because (according to them) no person has ever invaded another's private property without express consent or permission.
If they're saying that then they're flat out lying. http://www.cnet.com/news/googl...ngineer-for-privacy-breach/ Engineer broke into the Gmail and Google Voice accounts of several children, and only when their parents complained (no indication what he did but I have my doubts) did he get fired. No oversight policies apparently inside Google.
A source familiar with the incident said this was not the first time a Google employee has been dismissed as the result of a privacy breach, though the previous incident didn't involve anyone under 18.
Pot, kettle, black (actually much, much blacker because no threat to Google IP in any of the cases). Combined with the non-denial denial above it reeks of hypocrisy. None of these companies are any better than the other when it comes to their TOS and what they can do based on it, leave alone what some employees (as in Google's case) are doing anyway, TOS be damned.

Edited by Romero, Mar 26 2014, 8:03pm :

It's probably the same thing Microsoft would have said prior to this incident. And, to be honest, it doesn't appear to have ever happened before that anyone is aware of. If it did happen - it certainly never rose to the level of being made public, which is quite a feat in this age of constant information. Once in 18 years is a pretty rare occurrance.

[q]Google: It's hard to imagine us snooping in Gmail to investigate company leaks[/q] Of course not, they sneak in mails of every Gmail users, no matter if company leaks are there or not.

Email providers can access anyone's email they want. This is well known and if anyone thinks their data they post online is secure from all prying eyes, think again. Yahoo, Outlook, Google, Netscape, AOL......

trojan_market said,

trash talk, its them attacking back at ms for scroogled campaign.

Google trash talk to MS? How is that trash talk saying that they couldnt imagine themselves doing it. They didnt mock MS or even mention them.

techbeck said,

Google trash talk to MS? How is that trash talk saying that they couldnt imagine themselves doing it. They didnt mock MS or even mention them.


so why would they say it now right after this news. they pretending to be cuty kitty then? google: "reading employees email is bad, its discriminating. you should read everybody's email"

trojan_market said,

so why would they say it now right after this news. they pretending to be cuty kitty then? google: "reading employees email is bad, its discriminating. you should read everybody's email"

Gee, I don't know. Maybe it has to do with the big topic/issue that was brought up when it was revealed that MS looked at a users emails. And maybe Google wants to reassure it customers.

The statement that was made had zero trash talk in it.

techbeck said,

Gee, I don't know. Maybe it has to do with the big topic/issue that was brought up when it was revealed that MS looked at a users emails. And maybe Google wants to reassure it customers.

The statement that was made had zero trash talk in it.


are you google's employee perhaps? because you could be, if you're not already. I am just saying its a good company to work for

trojan_market said,

are you google's employee perhaps? because you could be, if you're not already. I am just saying its a good company to work for

Nope, I just dont take statements from companies and say/assume they are trash talk.

techbeck said,

So what, you are blaming Google for what one of their employees did?. Umm, ok then.

Google didnt approve/condone the users actions and was fired....4yrs ago.

They tried to hide it. They didn't even take any notice against the engineer until the media escalated the issue and the #### hit the fan. It was merely a PR move.

techbeck said,

So what, you are blaming Google for what one of their employees did?. Umm, ok then.

Google didnt approve/condone the users actions and was fired....4yrs ago.


just for you to know, that link is not a proof that google snooping into emails, but you have to know all companies does that regular checks to their corp emails it just happens for some companies like google and Microsoft that they have public email services too. so again every company does that for employees. this is part of what you sign when you become an employee.

trojan_market said,

so why would they say it now right after this news.

Did you read the article? It's a direct response to accusations by a former TechCrunch editor, which were made right after the Microsoft related news.

ichi said,

Did you read the article? It's a direct response to accusations by a former TechCrunch editor, which were made right after the Microsoft related news.

Yup. Was a response to the editor, not MS.

techbeck said,

So what, you are blaming Google for what one of their employees did?. Umm, ok then.

Google didnt approve/condone the users actions and was fired....4yrs ago.

The point is their data is human readable..

No escalation through legal to get the encryption keys to an account is needed. Google can just open it and read it, no process, no legal, no NOTHING.

If you pay attention, Google employees are constantly being fired when it becomes 'public' knowledge that they are violating user privacy.

However, it is only the stories where the injured parties have taken the story to the media, there are tons of internal problems at Google you will never hear about.

Go look up things like: Google employee spies on friends, Google employee reads ex's emails, etc.

Even with the media black out from Google on this subject, there are still tons of these stories that don't make national news.

At Microsoft at least the data is non-human readable, requiring an extensive process to unlock the end user's security key. Your email on Outlook.com isn't just 'readable' by an employee or at Microsoft's leisure.

It is this COMPLEX process at Microsoft that made them reading one user's email a NEWS story.

Mobius Enigma said,

The point is their data is human readable..

No escalation through legal to get the encryption keys to an account is needed. Google can just open it and read it, no process, no legal, no NOTHING.

Any data from most service, including MS, is human readable. And MS apparently can open emails whenever the see fit as well and this is what I have been saying all along. If people were really worried about security, they would take steps to protect themselves and not trust a company to do it 100 percent for them. I doubt the process for reading emails on MS side is that complicated.

Google probably does read emails as well as any other email provider. Difference here is MS got caught and wouldn't be surprised if MS and Google have done this in the past if it suits their needs. But so far all the accusations against Google is just that, accusations. But again, I trust Google with my data as much as I do anyone else.

techbeck said,

Any data from most service, including MS, is human readable. And MS apparently can open emails whenever the see fit as well and this is what I have been saying all along. If people were really worried about security, they would take steps to protect themselves and not trust a company to do it 100 percent for them. I doubt the process for reading emails on MS side is that complicated.

Google probably does read emails as well as any other email provider. Difference here is MS got caught and wouldn't be surprised if MS and Google have done this in the past if it suits their needs. But so far all the accusations against Google is just that, accusations. But again, I trust Google with my data as much as I do anyone else.

There is a difference between open data that can be human queried and machine locked data. I'm sorry you don't understand the difference.

PS Microsoft didn't get 'caught', they revealed their process in public documents, they had nothing to hide.

Mobius Enigma said,

There is a difference between open data that can be human queried and machine locked data. I'm sorry you don't understand the difference.

PS Microsoft didn't get 'caught', they revealed their process in public documents, they had nothing to hide.

I doubt MS has that hard of a problem getting access to someones email. Just because they say it is a hard processes, doesnt make it so. Especially when it was MS internal team that is authorizing access.

Mobius Enigma said,

If you pay attention, Google employees are constantly being fired when it becomes 'public' knowledge that they are violating user privacy.

I might definitely not be paying enough attention but I only recall one single instance of that, and a quick search doesn't seem to show more than exactly that (the same story you have linked twice in replies to this article).

trojan_market said,
are you google's employee perhaps? because you could be, if you're not already. I am just saying its a good company to work for

If you're going to discredit Google for "trash talking", the least you could do is lead by example.

ichi said,

Did you read the article? It's a direct response to accusations by a former TechCrunch editor, which were made right after the Microsoft related news.


as I mentioned companies they do read employees emails, legally, and google is either lying or trying to get back some reputation or is just a subtle shot back to Microsoft for their scroogled campaign which I never was a fan of. nevertheless, google was the one who started unlimited mail war. do you think they are going to give away unlimited space for free and get nothing back in return. and as I mentioned all corporations read employees emails and data. MS and Google happen to have public mail service. if you were not an employee and your data could be used by anyone beside FBI or other federal authorities yes you could sue the Hell of MS or Google.

dead.cell said,

If you're going to discredit Google for "trash talking", the least you could do is lead by example.

they do trash talk, one was for the scroogled T-Shirts that one of executives said MS make those tshirts to compete in wearable area. or exact phrase was "wearables competition is heating up". what I say is although they neved denied they don't read emails but they carefully phrased word to take a shot at microsoft. MS has better reputation in privacy policies and they know it. saying its hard to imagine google reading employees email is both subtle shot and pretending to be something that google is not.

trojan_market said,

as I mentioned companies they do read employees emails, legally, and google is either lying or trying to get back some reputation or is just a subtle shot back to Microsoft for their scroogled campaign which I never was a fan of. nevertheless, google was the one who started unlimited mail war. do you think they are going to give away unlimited space for free and get nothing back in return. and as I mentioned all corporations read employees emails and data. MS and Google happen to have public mail service. if you were not an employee and your data could be used by anyone beside FBI or other federal authorities yes you could sue the Hell of MS or Google.

Yes, Google scans mail for data mining, and yes, the statement in the article might not be true.

What I'm saying is that it's not a response to Microsoft, it's a direct response to an accusation by a former TechCrunch editor about Google allegedly having done exactly the same thing as Microsoft.

ichi said,

Yes, Google scans mail for data mining, and yes, the statement in the article might not be true.

What I'm saying is that it's not a response to Microsoft, it's a direct response to an accusation by a former TechCrunch editor about Google allegedly having done exactly the same thing as Microsoft.


either way you might be true but I don't like the statement, its anything but honest. and they may have not directly mentioned Microsoft name but its a trend with all google execs being smart asses. I don't deny scroogled campaign also had dishonesty to it but I have always criticized it too. this is not a campaign but its cheesy statement and a lie.

trojan_market said,

this is not a campaign but its cheesy statement and a lie.

I would definitely agree that the timing was perfect for Google, but it was served on a silver platter by a non related third party.

The statement was also vague enough to be potentially true without actually meaning all that much regarding Google's usage of the TOS. Typical PR speech.

trojan_market said,

either way you might be true but I don't like the statement, its anything but honest. and they may have not directly mentioned Microsoft name but its a trend with all google execs being smart asses. I don't deny scroogled campaign also had dishonesty to it but I have always criticized it too. this is not a campaign but its cheesy statement and a lie.

Hint: all companies are full of smart asses. See Larry Hryb, Don Mattrick, and Adam Orth. (thankfully of which, two are no longer with the company anymore)

Hell, I can link you to smart ass comments if you're interested in keeping up with this sort of thing. https://twitter.com/majornelson/status/304396492314128385

I'm definitely no fan of Google by any means for what it's worth. I just don't think in this particular instance, they are trash talking. They're just not worried for the feelings of other companies, and honestly, why should they be? No sense in using tact to protect the face of someone you're competing with...

Aha, sure. In reality, they would do this without a moment's hesitation. It would be naive to think otherwise.

Not really. Neowin members have PM's but we have no interest in wanting to know what is being discussed between members. If someone is being harassed via PM that member can simply join a staff member to the conversation. It's a matter of trust for a free service you are getting (GMail + Neowin in this case).

Steven P. said,
Not really. Neowin members have PM's but we have no interest in wanting to know what is being discussed between members. If someone is being harassed via PM that member can simply join a staff member to the conversation. It's a matter of trust for a free service you are getting (GMail + Neowin in this case).
I dont think anyone is passing about Neowin trade secrets over PM.

vanx said,
Aha, sure. In reality, they would do this without a moment's hesitation. It would be naive to think otherwise.

If they felt a need to do so, I am sure they would. Like MS, they have a similar statement in their TOS.

What would you do if your site gets hacked resulting you a big monetary loss and later you get to know that the hackers used PM system of your site to communicate between them?

Crimson Rain said,
What would you do if your site gets hacked resulting you a big monetary loss and later you get to know that the hackers used PM system of your site to communicate between them?

We wouldn't be looking there for clues :p

Steven P. said,
Not really. Neowin members have PM's but we have no interest in wanting to know what is being discussed between members. If someone is being harassed via PM that member can simply join a staff member to the conversation. It's a matter of trust for a free service you are getting (GMail + Neowin in this case).

With all due respect, I think that Google's IP is a lot more value than Neowin's. While you may have no interest, if you are compelled to do so by law enforcement authorities, you will have to disclose this information. This may result in you reading the information in question. As for trust, there is no such thing on the internet or at least there should not be. TNO is a very good approach in making sure your data is secure and private. Besides, I would have thought that knowledge level of those who frequent Neowin would have more common sense than to discuss any sensitive/secret sensitive matters they are not normally privy to pertaining to Neowin using PMs.

Crimson Rain said,
What would you do if your site gets hacked resulting you a big monetary loss and later you get to know that the hackers used PM system of your site to communicate between them?

Why would the hacker use the PM system? Unless they wanted to be caught. :laugh:

Steven P. said,

We wouldn't be looking there for clues :p

Of course you would not be looking there for clues. Neither did MS.

But *if you get to know* that their PM contains vital information, then you would just like MS did.

Crimson Rain said,

Ask it to that ex-msft and that blogger...

I don't know the setup of their mail accounts, but there's the possibility that the ex-MS employee wasn't using an Outlook.com account and the blogger had his with a custom domain, which wouldn't look as an obvious Outlook.com accout.

Or maybe they were stupid, I don't know, but that's a possibility.

the better twin said,
So no denial that they wouldn't do it then? At this point its naive to assume they aren't all as bad as each other.

A denial would also be irrelevant. The hard fact is that they have a TOS that would allow them to do that, and those terms are in there for a reason.

You wouldn't need to legally try to cover your ass about a particular action you knew you'd never ever do.

ichi said,

A denial would also be irrelevant. The hard fact is that they have a TOS that would allow them to do that, and those terms are in there for a reason.

You wouldn't need to legally try to cover your ass about a particular action you knew you'd never ever do.


Come on Google wont do that even if their TOS states /s, they in fact only go through your personal emails and searches to sell you adds. IP are used all the time without permission which is why they don't worry about a witch hunt. IP pffftt what's that!

the better twin said,
So no denial that they wouldn't do it then?
Precisely.

While our terms of service might legally permit such access, we have never done this and it's hard for me to imagine circumstances where we would investigate a leak in that way.
Why does your TOS have it if you will never use it? Why not amend your TOS and say unequivocally you will never do it? It's hard for you to imagine but not impossible, right?

Typical a**hole lawyer double-speak.

Romero said,
Why does your TOS have it if you will never use it? Why not amend your TOS and say unequivocally you will never do it? It's hard for you to imagine but not impossible, right?

Typical a**hole lawyer double-speak.

Well, it's a rather vague denial targeted at a very particular case raised by the ex-TechCrunch guy. The TOS for both Google and Microsoft's services cover far more scenarios that just this snooping for leak investigation.

Even in the remote event of Walker's statement being actually true, that doesn't mean they hadn't or wouldn't make use of that TOS clause under different conditions.