Microsoft's ban of nudity on SkyDrive questioned

Microsoft launched the new "Modern" look of its SkyDrive cloud-based services last week. However, questions about what can and cannot be uploaded to SkyDrive folders and accounts, even if those folders are private, remain.

Earlier this year, a German man was banned from SkyDrive, along with all of the services linked to his Microsoft online account, due to uploading four partially nude pictures in his private folder.  Microsoft has stated in its EULA that users cannot upload "nudity of any sort, including full or partial human nudity, or nudity in nonhuman forms such as cartoons, fantasy art or manga" in their SkyDrive account.

The EULA doesn't allow users to upload any "pornography", which means you can't install your legally purchased porn movie on your private SkyDrive account. SkyDrive also doesn't allow any files that have "vulgarity" or "profanity", meaning that, in theory, your SkyDrive account could be banned if you upload a document with just one swear word inside. There's also a ban on "gratuitous violence", which means you could possibly be banned if you upload a movie of your gameplay in, for example, the "M" rated Halo series from Microsoft.

Venture Beat tried to find out why Microsoft is so restrictive but their article said that the company's spokesperson would not answer any specific questions. Instead it sent out a statement which said, in part:

Any content we find to be in violation of our Code of Conduct is subject to removal — and in rare cases, can lead to temporary or permanent shutdown of an account. We understand no system is perfect. That’s why we are constantly improving our ability to ensure the privacy, security and availability of our users’ data around the world.

Other cloud-based services seem to have more open policies on storing content on their servers. Dropbox, Box and SugarSync all basically have EULAs that state that users cannot break the law in terms of uploading content in their accounts.

Users of Google Drive do have quite a few specific content restrictions. However, according to a statement from a Google spokesperson, it appears that if people don't share content on their Google Drive account with others, they are free to upload adult themed material. The statement says in part, " ... a user’s private content is private. This means that unless a user publishes content that could be reported by another user for violation of our Abuse Program Policies, we would have no reason to investigate or take action against a particular account."

So the big question remains: Why is Microsoft so strict with its SkyDrive content policies, even for private account folders, and why won't the company offer more clarity about what can and cannot be uploaded to SkyDrive in order to avoid any issues with its customers? With the launch of Windows 8 coming in just over two months time, perhaps it's time for Microsoft to offer some more guidance on its SkyDrive agreements.

Source: Venture Beat

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