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Microsoft

Microsoft Opts-In Hotmail Users 704

Posted by michael
from the trustworthy-computing dept.
medeii writes "East Side Journal reports that without telling anyone, Microsoft has suddenly changed the privacy preferences for all Hotmail users. They're now sharing your name and other personal information with third parties, even if you said you didn't want that when you signed up. (If you're a user, login, go to Options > Personal Profile, and un-check the boxes at the bottom of that page.)" The same reporter has written a follow-up article today.
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Microsoft Opts-In Hotmail Users

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  • by ksuMacGyver (562019) on Thursday May 16, 2002 @10:42PM (#3534324) Homepage
    They have free email and no advertising appending. =)
  • Re:Boycott Hotmail (Score:5, Informative)

    by Com2Kid (142006) <com2kidSPAMLESS@gmail.com> on Thursday May 16, 2002 @10:43PM (#3534333) Homepage Journal
    I wonder why people still USE hotmail.

    Seriously, you DO all realize that there are TONS better providers out there that offer FREE e-mail, kick ass spam filters, tons of space, and far more features that Hotmail does, right?

    FREE.

    ::sighs::

    Guess not. . . .

    Hotmail is big, and, err, they are big. Did I mention that they are big?

    Is that really all that good of a reason to choose your free e-mail provider? Because they are big? (actualy I think that it would be a rather piss poor reason. . . .)

    I have met a ton of people who do not even realize that their ISP offers them free email accounts. . . .
  • Not true for me (Score:3, Informative)

    by donutello (88309) on Thursday May 16, 2002 @11:07PM (#3534494) Homepage
    I just checked my hotmail options and those three boxes were NOT checked. So I have no idea what the hell the article writer is talking about or what's different between his case and mine.

    Of course, this post will probably get buried under the avalanche of people who want to believe the article.
  • The Actual text (Score:4, Informative)

    by donutello (88309) on Thursday May 16, 2002 @11:10PM (#3534514) Homepage
    You can speed registration and get personalized services at participating sites by sharing your .NET Passport information with them when you sign in.

    Choose how much of your .NET Passport information Microsoft can share with other companies' .NET Passport sites at sign-in:

    _ Share my e-mail address.
    _ Share my first and last names.
    _ Share my other registration information.

    Tell me more about .NET Passport, privacy, and security.


    FWIW, when I checked my user profile, all three of the options were unchecked.
  • by ender81b (520454) <billd AT inebraska DOT com> on Thursday May 16, 2002 @11:12PM (#3534521) Homepage Journal
    In opera, at least, I can change my preferences to mimik IE 6.0 or 5.0. Try that if you have it. I thought there was something like this in mozilla, guess not. oh, you also can't d/l attachments with an 'incompatible' browser. Makes no sense - everything works fine when I set opera to indentify itself as MSIE 6.0 but... oh well.

    I could go on-and-on about how retarded, backwards, non-standards compliant this is but... it's microsoft. Go Figure.
  • by gregfortune (313889) on Thursday May 16, 2002 @11:16PM (#3534542)

    • Account sizes started at 10 MB. Hotmail recently reduced them to 2 MB.
    • Hotmail constantly sends me reminders that I can get my 10MB of storage back by paying them a monthly fee. Great...
    • Those same reminders generally come as part of a message that says, in effect, "Your account is almost full. We'll send you another message to add to the total so you fill up even faster. By doing this, we can clearly demonstrate why you need a larger account. Pay us now.
    • I can get 500 messages from a single address with an identical subject and message body. Fun, now my account fills up even faster. (I sent suggestions on how to prevent this. The information was supposedly passed along to the dev team. Who knows...)
    • I can sign up for a new account and within hours, I'm receiving spam. Dang, now that's some added value, not to mention adding to the need for more storage.
    • Obvious bulk mail goes into my junk folder. Nice, except that my junk folder contributes to my total space used and isn't purged automagically if more space is needed. There isn't even an option to do this. (Sigh, I need more space again. Maybe they'll send me another advert so I can sign up..)
    • And more and more of my favorite things about hotmail. Isn't it just nifty?
    arg!!!!
  • by Caractacus Potts (74726) on Thursday May 16, 2002 @11:22PM (#3534577)

    OK, I've got four HotMail accounts. For the first three, the options had been changed and I reset them to opt-out. When I got to the fourth account, which I set up about three weeks ago and have NEVER sent a message from, my options indicated that none of my info was to be public. However, there were 171 SPAMs waiting for me, starting just a few hours after the "Welcome to HotMail" message. Apparently, they released my new e-mail address to the wild the instant it was created, making any decision of mine to opt-out a moot point. Once it's out there, you're screwed.
  • by NewtonsLaw (409638) on Thursday May 16, 2002 @11:31PM (#3534617)
    Why are people still using Hotmail?

    It's got to be the worst free email service on the Net when it comes to reliability, security, spam and superfluous fluff associated with your mail.

    When I discovered how much simpler and cleaner YahooMail was I ditched my HotMail account and never regretted it for a moment.

    Okay, Yahoo may still change your marketing preferences, but at least they had the decency to let you know about it and give you a chance to reverse the changes before adding you to a long list of lists.

    However, the best thing of all about YahooMail is that I get an incredibly small amount of spam arriving in my yahoomail email box.

    Either their spam filtering is far more effective, or spammers consider Hotmail user to be dumber (and therefore more likely to believe that you can earn $50,000 a month stuffing envelopes).

    I also get a 6MB mailbox for free (perhaps because I was an early adopter -- I don't think they're quite as generous for new signups) and the service seems very reliable.

    With my Javascript turned off I don't even see the pop-up ads that can be such a PITA when browsing Yahoo's properties.

    Yahoo may be far from perfect but it's a whole lot better than Hotmail that's an absolute undeniable fact.
  • by numark (577503) <jcolson@nd g o n l i n e .com> on Thursday May 16, 2002 @11:34PM (#3534640) Homepage Journal
    I'm using Opera 6.02 for Win, identifying as Mozilla 4.78, and the page worked just fine for me. I don't know about 6.01, which you may still be using (6.02 was just released a day or two ago). Probably was just some minor issue in earlier versions of Opera. I know I'd had problems with other Hotmail features before upgrading, so just updating Opera should help anyone having the same problem.

  • Proxomitron [proxomitron.org], the ad blocker software, can identify any browser you have as anything you like. The default is Space Bison. (Unfortunately, I don't think there is a Linux version.)
  • by josquint (193951) on Thursday May 16, 2002 @11:39PM (#3534671) Homepage
    Identify as Opera: dont work
    Identify as Mozilla 5.0: dont work
    Identify as Mozilla 4.76: Works
    Identify as Mozilla 3.0: dont work
    Identify as MSIE 5.0: Works(duh!)

    Yet, in Opera, all the pages are rendered the same way, and all pages in hotmail work fine in Opera assuming you identify it as a 'preferred browser'. So, its not a functionality issue, just a "use our damn browser or else" issue. A DDoS attack from MSN to non-IE users? hehe
  • by gr3y (549124) on Friday May 17, 2002 @12:04AM (#3534818)

    I obfuscated the names because I have nothing against the people who responded (or didn't respond, depending on your point of view) to my request. Their replies were slightly mechanistic, and it is clear (to me, yvmv) that Microsoft has no intention of giving up the information I provided to open my hotmail account. But I planned for this day, so any junk mail Microsoft may have signed "me" up for, using the name and address I generously provided, is being forwarded to the dead letters office in Leesville, Louisiana. Yeeha.

    This latest move comes as no surprise, really. I can't imagine Redmond respects my privacy any more than Yahoo!, Egghead, or any one of a dozen other defunct dot coms...

    ===== BEGIN =====

    Excellent. That is exactly what I wanted to hear. I intend to close my account presently. I will attempt to log in to hotmail in 100 days. If that attempt succeeds, I will contact you then.

    From: "Microsoft .NET Passport Support"
    To:
    Subject: RE: RE: RE: RE: CST60498798ID - delete my account
    Date: Tue, 26 Feb 2002 20:23:03 -0800

    Hello mephistopheles51@hotmail.com,
    Thank you for writing to Microsoft .NET Passport.
    In response to your inquiry, I would just like to reiterate that your Hotmail account is an automatic Passport account as well. Therefore, if you close your Hotmail account, your Passport account will also be cancelled.
    I hope I was able to help you.
    Thank you for your patience.

    Sincerely,
    Pi.
    Microsoft .NET Passport Customer Support Representative

    --- Original Message ---
    From: mephistopheles51@hotmail.com
    To: "Microsoft .NET Passport Support"
    Sent: Tue Feb 26 19:40:25 PST 2002
    Subject: RE: RE: RE: CST60498798ID - delete my account

    Finally, someone actually *read* my question. After receiving the exact same response twice in a row I was becoming concerned that there was no human being on the other end of the computer at all, but a machine, which was parsing the question and appending the appropriate "solution". To rephrase your reply: if I close my hotmail account, and DO NOT USE MY PASSPORT FOR 90 DAYS, all information provided to or collected by Microsoft will be automatically deleted, including any information provided to marketers, advertisers, or any of Microsoft's "partners". If you respond affirmatively, I will close my hotmail account and expect that the non-public information provided to Microsoft by me will be deleted as above, following 90 days of inactivity. If you must respond negatively, please forward my question to someone who will guarantee that the non-public information provided to Microsoft by me will be deleted as above, or who will state, for the record, that it simply cannot (or will not) be done prior to responding. I should like a name in the latter case. In either case, if I have not heard from a representative of hotmail or passport in three days, I will take this matter up again. I eagerly await your reply.

    Thank you.

    >From: "Microsoft .NET Passport Support"
    >To:
    >Subject: RE: RE: RE: CST60498798ID - delete my account
    >Date: Mon, 25 Feb 2002 23:02:00 -0800
    >
    >Hello Mephistopheles51,
    > Thank you for writing to Microsoft .NET Passport.
    > Regarding your inquiry, Email services of Hotmail Passport IDs are
    >automatically deactivated after 30 days of inactivity. After such time,
    >your Hotmail Passport will cease to be an email account but you can still
    >continue using the ID on other Participating Passport sites.
    > Should you wish to have your Passport ID purged from our system, please
    >refrain from accessing the account for 90 days. Accounts are automatically
    >removed from our system only after the specified period of inactivity.
    > I hope I was able to answer your question, if you have other inquiries,
    >please do not hesitate to write us back.
    >
    >
    >
    >Sincerely,
    >
    >
    >Je.
    >Microsoft .NET Passport Customer Support Representative
    >

    >--- Original Message ---
    >From: mephistopheles51@hotmail.com
    >To: "Microsoft .NET Passport Support"
    >Sent: Mon Feb 25 19:00:23 PST 2002
    >Subject: RE: RE: CST60498798ID - delete my account
    >
    >I'm afraid you don't understand, as previously explained.
    > I want to delete my "passport", thereby deleting all information provided to
    >or collected by Microsoft, and not just my hotmail account. As indicated by
    >the recent memorandum from Bill Gates, it appears Microsoft has finally
    >realized that it must earn users' trust. This is a step in the right
    >direction. Users are not a cash machine for any corporation that decides to
    >abuse its monopoly status for the benefit of the marketing and advertising
    >departments of its many "partners".
    > However, the recent attacks on hotmail, and the vulnerabilities in
    >Microsoft's ".net" and "passport" services have convinced me that none of
    >the information I provided to Microsoft is truly secure, not even my name,
    >address, or IP, and that Microsoft cannot be trusted not to use the
    >information provided or collected for its own gain, and to my detriment.
    >Therefore, I would like to delete all information I provided to Microsoft,
    >or which has been collected by Microsoft about me, in its entirety.
    > Please tell me how to do that, or direct my inquiry to someone who can.
    >Merely deleting my hotmail account simply will not suffice. Thank you.

    > >From: "Microsoft .NET Passport Support"
    > >To:
    > >Subject: RE: RE: CST60498798ID - delete my account
    > >Date: Fri, 22 Feb 2002 19:21:11 -0800
    > >
    > >Hello Mephistopheles51,
    > >
    > >
    > >Thank you for writing back to Microsoft .NET Passport.
    > >
    > >With regard to your concern, please be guided on the procedures of deleting
    > >your mephistopheles51@hotmail.com account.
    > >
    > > >>> To close your Hotmail account
    > >
    > >1. In the upper right corner of any Hotmail page, click "Help".
    > >
    > >2. In the MSN Hotmail Help window, click "Find", type "Close account", and
    > >then click "Go".
    > >
    > >3. In the search results, click the "Close your Hotmail account" link. 4.
    > >Follow the instructions to close your account.
    > >
    > >You can also close your Hotmail account by not signing in to the account
    > >for 30 days or within the first 10 days after you set up your account.
    > >Hotmail then marks your account as "Inactive", your stored messages are
    > >permanently deleted, and inbound messages are returned to the sender. You
    > >can reactivate your account by going to the sign-in page and typing your
    > >sign-in name and password. If your account remains "Inactive" for 90 days,
    > >Hotmail permanently deletes it. You cannot reactivate your deleted account
    > >because it has been completely removed from our system. You must register
    > >for a new one.
    > >
    > >Note: If you want to permanently close your Hotmail account, do not sign in
    > >to Hotmail or any other .NET Passport site (such as Messenger or eShop) for
    > >which you use your user@hotmail.com .NET Passport for a full 90 days. In
    > >addition, if your Hotmail account is closed, your hotmail.com .NET Passport
    > >is also closed.
    > > Microsoft .NET Passport has comprehensive online help available to you.
    > >For more information about Microsoft .NET Passport or help with Microsoft
    > >.NET Passport features, click the Help link on a Microsoft .NET Passport
    > >web page. When the help window opens, click the appropriate topic, or click
    > >the All Topics link at the top of the help window for a categorized list of
    > >all Microsoft .NET Passport help topics.
    > >
    > >Thank you for using Microsoft .NET Passport. If you have further questions,
    > >please reply to this e-mail message.
    > >
    > >
    > >
    > >Sincerely,
    > >
    > >Lo.
    > >Microsoft .NET Passport Customer Support Representative
    > >

    > >--- Original Message ---
    > >From: mephistopheles51@hotmail.com
    > >To: "Microsoft .NET Passport Support"
    >
    > >Sent: Fri Feb 22 17:35:47 PST 2002
    > >Subject: RE: CST60498798ID - delete my account
    > >
    > >I'm afraid you don't understand. I want to delete my "passport". Microsoft
    > >simply cannot be trusted with the information I provided, and cannot be
    > >trusted not to attempt to collect more and more associative information to
    > >be sold to its marketing and advertising "partners". I do not want any
    > >information I provided to Microsoft to exist on Microsoft's servers at all.
    > > The help page simply states that I will be closing my hotmail account, and
    > >that after 90 days my hotmail account will be deleted, but that deletion of
    > >my hotmail account will not affect my passport, and that I may reactivate my
    > >hotmail account at any time within 90 days simply by signing in to hotmail.
    > >This is not acceptable.
    > > Please direct me to a link that will allow me to delete my passport, thus
    > >removing all passport information collected by Microsoft.
    > > As an aside, why do hotmail.msn.com, passport.com, and msn.com need 14
    > >cookies between them? Don't you find that a little excessive? I certainly do.
    > > Thank you!

    > > >From: "Microsoft .NET Passport Support"
    >
    > > >To:
    > > >Subject: RE: CST60498798ID - delete my account
    > > >Date: Tue, 19 Feb 2002 19:31:37 -0800
    > > >
    > > >Hello mephistopheles51,
    > > >
    > > >Thank you for writing to Microsoft .NET Passport.
    > > > In response to your concern, I have provided below the procedure on how
    > > >to delete your mephistopheles51@hotmail.com .NET Passport account.
    > > > >>> To close your Hotmail account
    > > > 1. In the upper right corner of any Hotmail page, click "Help".
    > > > 2. In the MSN Hotmail Help window, click "Find", type "Close account",
    > > >and then click "Go".
    > > > 3. In the search results, click the "Close your Hotmail account" link.
    > >4.
    > > >Follow the instructions to close your account.
    > > > You can also close your Hotmail account by not signing in to the account
    > > >for 30 days or within the first 10 days after you set up your account.
    > > >Hotmail then marks your account as "Inactive", your stored messages are
    > > >permanently deleted, and inbound messages are returned to the sender. You
    > > >can reactivate your account by going to the sign-in page and typing your
    > > >sign-in name and password. If your account remains "Inactive" for 90 days,
    > > >Hotmail permanently deletes it. You cannot reactivate your deleted account
    > > >because it has been completely removed from our system. You must register
    > > >for a new one.
    > > > Note: If you want to permanently close your Hotmail account, do not sign
    > > >in to Hotmail or any other .NET Passport site (such as Messenger or eShop)
    > > >for which you use your user@hotmail.com .NET Passport for a full 90 days.
    > > >In addition, if your Hotmail account is closed, your hotmail.com .NET
    > > >Passport is also closed.
    > > > Microsoft .NET Passport has comprehensive online help available to you.
    > > >For more information about Microsoft .NET Passport or help with Microsoft
    > > >.NET Passport features, click the Help link on a Microsoft .NET Passport
    > > >web page. When the help window opens, click the appropriate topic, or click
    > > >the All Topics link at the top of the help window for a categorized list of
    > > >all Microsoft .NET Passport help topics.
    > > >
    > > >Thank you for using Microsoft .NET Passport. If you have further questions,
    > > >please reply to this e-mail message.
    > > >
    > > >
    > > >Sincerely,
    > > >
    > > >Ed.
    > > >Microsoft .NET Passport Customer Support Representative
    > > >

    > > >--- Original Message ---
    > > >From: no@alternate.com
    > > >To: "Microsoft .NET Passport Support"
    > >
    > > >Sent: Tue Feb 19 18:51:42 PST 2002
    > > >Subject: delete my account
    > > >
    > > >CustomerName : don't need don't need
    > > >UpdateCountry : false, false
    > > >CUBirthdate : don't need
    > > >BrowserVersion : don't need
    > > >OperatingSystem : don't need
    > > >ErrorMessage : n/a
    > > >Submit : Send
    > > >ContactEmailAddress : mephistopheles51@hotmail.com
    > > >Country : US
    > > >FirstName : don't need
    > > >LastName : don't need
    > > >Region : 19283
    > > >PostalCode : don't need
    > > >Comments : you don't need any of this information to delete my account
    > > >RIGHT NOW.
    > >
    > >Don't Believe the Hype!*
    > >*and it's all hype...

  • by numbuscus (466708) on Friday May 17, 2002 @12:49AM (#3534984)
    If I offended you, I'm sorry, but Microsoft builds the X-Box in Hungary and has recently announced they are moving production to China.

    Sorry.
  • Legality in the UK (Score:5, Informative)

    by Afty0r (263037) on Friday May 17, 2002 @04:27AM (#3535673) Homepage
    I believe that if MS has pulled this stunt on its UK based customers, that it is liable for a £500 fine for every customer that files a complaint with the Data Protection Registrar (which if everyone did, would probably for a few hundred million sterling, or half a billion US$).

    In the UK we have an act called the 'Data Protection Act' which means any companies doing business in the UK are *obliged* to require our permission to do anything outside their company with our personal data we provide to them, and breaking these rules can be swiftly and harshly punished. In extreme cases, it can result in a business being shut down entirely.

    Other fringe benefits include the right to demand a company never contacts you again, and the right to demand to see *all* information a company holds about you, so you can correct this information if it is incorrect.
  • by Akumapwr (532413) on Friday May 17, 2002 @05:53AM (#3535850)
    Use www.gmx.net, I get no spam. It's free, it's 10mb and has way more options.
  • by limegreen (516173) on Friday May 17, 2002 @07:07AM (#3535974) Homepage Journal
    Funny - my preferences continue to remain un-ticked.
  • by peddrenth (575761) on Friday May 17, 2002 @07:40AM (#3536066) Homepage

    I presume most people here run websites. Many people have privacy policies (or other such useful but non-vital information) and PHP/Perl is pretty standard.

    Put the following code on your privacy policy page:


    <?php
    if (index(getenv("USER_AGENT"),"MSIE")>0)
    {
    echo "<p>We have detected you are using a non-standard browser which may not display this page properly. Please upgrade to Galeon 0.2 or later, Mozilla 0.9 or later, or any version of Netscape Navigator</p>";
    }
    else
    {
    /* Put your website's privacy policy here */
    }
    ?>

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