Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
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.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Microsoft Opts-In Hotmail Users

Comments Filter:
  • by wrinkledshirt (228541) on Thursday May 16, 2002 @10:38PM (#3534289) Homepage
    I'll do you one better.

    Mozilla users can't access Options->Personal Profile to opt out.
    • by zaffir (546764) on Thursday May 16, 2002 @10:45PM (#3534351)
      Neither can Opera users who identify themselves as either Opera or Mozilla. Switch the identifier to IE 5.0, however, and the personal profile page suddenly works perfectly. Way to go, MS.
      • by numark (577503)
        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.
      • by Quay42 (444528)
        I sent off a nice long comment to Hotmail about this very fact (I'm sure they'll ignore it). Basically I mentioned the fact that they should just give me the damn HTML and let *me* decide it its supported. And since it was basically a simple form, even Lynx could handle it.

        If you got to Help, there a link at the bottom to send comments. Select "other" from there so that you can actually put in your comment.
        • Sounds like a plan, lets spam hotmail and tell them to make it easier for us to make it harder for them to spam us.
    • by ivan256 (17499) on Thursday May 16, 2002 @10:54PM (#3534416)
      It doesn't matter. All they had to do is sell it once to some unscrupulous company in the minutes when the box was unchecked, and the dammage is done. There's no web form that can undo it. The effectively have licence to the data in your account during that brief period. Ingenious of them. Glad I don't have an account there.
      • Sorry to ask the obvious question, but since IANAL, I'd be interested to know. If you have explicitly said you don't want a company to reveal your private details, can they legally change your mind for you? I realise that blanket statements about changing Ts&Cs without notice might apply to services like Hotmail, but that doesn't necessarily make them legal either. I would have expected this to fall foul of data protection legislation, at least in most European countries.

    • by doubtless (267357) on Thursday May 16, 2002 @10:54PM (#3534421) Homepage
      Microsoft® .NET Passport no longer supports the Web browser version you are using. Please upgrade to a current Web browser, such as Microsoft Internet Explorer version 4.0 or later, or Netscape Navigator version 4.08 or later.

      Netscape navigator 4.08 or later is supported, but not my Mozilla 0.99? a step backward? or basically just not going to be friendly towards open source?

      this sucks.
      • Netscape navigator 4.08 or later is supported, but not my Mozilla 0.99? a step backward? or basically just not going to be friendly towards open source?

        Well, they weren't found guilty of trying to run Mozilla out of business, just Netscape. I'm sure they're sensitive to charges that they are deliberately breaking compatibility with Netscape. But they're free to crush everyone else.

      • by gmhowell (26755) <gmhowell@gmail.com> on Thursday May 16, 2002 @11:58PM (#3534786) Homepage Journal
        Don't you read anything? Everyone knows that if they support Mozilla, they will have to open source Excel. It's those damned viral licenses.

      • 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 */
        }
        ?>
    • by PepsiProgrammer (545828) on Thursday May 16, 2002 @11:06PM (#3534484)
      People smart enough to use mozilla should be smart enough to not trust their personal info to microsoft either.
    • 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.
    • ...now that's innovation...

      ...Microsoft® Innovation (TM)

    • 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
    • I had to change my Opera identity to get it to let me in. Looks like one of those ad hoc "version check" things that makes presumptions about the capabilities of your browser.

      Having said this, this has more to do with Microsoft Passport than Microsoft. I've actually been evaluating Passport as an optional authentication method on a current project, and one of the features that it offers is that upon authentication partners can get the basic user information (such as what they state on their site when you look at what "other registration info lists") for the purpose of making it easier for the user to complete orders, etc. It's unfortunate that they hijacked Hotmail to begin this, and the preference should start and not (perhaps even terminating your account if you refuse to allow it, but certainly not automatically doing it), however that's the whole purpose of Passport : To give users one username and password, and to allow them an easier experience on the net. You can see the details at http://www.microsoft.com/myservices/passport/overv iew.asp [microsoft.com]. The same sort of idea is going to hold true with the Liberty Alliance system as well.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 17, 2002 @06:01AM (#3535867)
      I'll do you even one more better.

      I just turned those options off, then signed out. I logged back in to see if they had taken effect and found that -every- time you go into options, those boxes are automatically checked.

      So beware, any time you change/view your options you need to uncheck the boxes again...
  • Browser Not Supported

    Microsoft® .NET Passport no longer supports the Web browser version you are using. Please upgrade to a current Web browser, such as Microsoft Internet Explorer version 4.0 or later, or Netscape Navigator version 4.08 or later.

    Great, now MS 0wnz m3 and my little browser, too.
  • Surprise! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dieMSdie (24109) on Thursday May 16, 2002 @10:40PM (#3534307)
    And this is surprising, how?

    I mean, come on, this is Micro$oft we are talking about here... marketing, marketing, marketing!

    Besides, Yahoo led the way, did they not? I would not be surprised to find out that Microsoft watched that whole Yahoo business very closely, and saw the complete lack of any outcry as a "green light" to go forward with this.

    • Re:Surprise! (Score:2, Interesting)

      by erc (38443)
      What's it going to take? Anyone for a class-action lawsuit against both Yahoo and Microsoft?
    • Re:Surprise! (Score:2, Insightful)

      by stcanard (244581)

      Well, there's outcry and there's outcry.

      I had been using Yahoo email for a long time, and was planning to pay for the service since it was useful. Because of their change, I sent a letter to Yahoo indicating why I would not pay for the service, and am now using a new address.

      My yahoo address is still open, however, so I can catch the stragglers that haven't caught up yet. So from a superficial (number of users pov), yes, it appears that this didn't affect their business, but what you don't know is how many people like me changed their mind about paying for the service, or the trust that they had placed in Yahoo.

      The future will tell if the same thing happens with Microsoft. I don't have a hotmail address because I knew better than to trust Microsoft, but a lot of people didn't. The question isn't really (like Yahoo) whether this will cost them hotmail addresses, but whether this will cost them $ in future service offerings like the larger mailboxes.

    • Re:Surprise! (Score:2, Interesting)

      by MrHanky (141717)
      Yeah, and this could explain why certain words are impossible to block in Hotmail -- like "debt". There's one single company I've tried to block in any way, but it's just not possible.
  • Trust. . . . (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Com2Kid (142006) <com2kidSPAMLESS@gmail.com> on Thursday May 16, 2002 @10:40PM (#3534308) Homepage Journal
    I don't care how good MS's software gets;

    they can spend all of the money that they want making their software better and better (hey, Win2K does indeed rock. Heh. :) ) but fact is;

    keep pissing people off and they will lose customers faster then 'software security audits' up to hell will gain them customers.

    (oh yah, and not making each OS more and more bleeping 'beautified' would be nice as well, I swear, if I wanted a pretty-boy interface I would've bought a mac!)

    ::hopes somebody hurries up and forces McNeel software to port Rhino3d to other x86 platforms. Is willing to provide crowbar to volenteer 'encourages' if necessary::
  • Funny, (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ObviousGuy (578567) <ObviousGuy@hotmail.com> on Thursday May 16, 2002 @10:40PM (#3534309) Homepage Journal
    Considering the amount of spam I get at my Hotmail accounts, I'm surprised that they haven't been doing this all along.
  • They have free email and no advertising appending. =)
  • Can't anyone give hotmail a break? They're just a poor start up company trying to figure out a way to generate revenue.

    What? Microsoft owns them? Their chairman is the richest man in the world? Well then, I guess there isn't much of an excuse to defraud customers, unless of course that is the way you become a hugely successful company...

  • by 3seas (184403) on Thursday May 16, 2002 @10:44PM (#3534341) Journal
    So now you don't even have to tell every company and their brothers company that you do business with that you want your privacy, but you have to do it monthly???

    Shouldn't privacy be a default thing to respect? Why should I have to constantly defend it?

    Can I charge for infringment of my privacy? (like charging for spam?)

    "To request your privacy options, tell us your life history. We want to make sure it's you, before we consider granting you temporary privacy."

    If you do not allow us to use up bandwidth sending you stuff you do not want then you should pay us for lost revenues.
  • New TOS? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by scott1853 (194884) on Thursday May 16, 2002 @10:48PM (#3534365)
    I went to disable that option and found out my account had been disabled since I didn't log in in 30 days. I click the "reactivate link" thinking I should reactivate and then uncheck that option, but upon reactivating I had to accept the terms of service again. You think you've seen some long ones before? Basically they're saying by accepting one, I'm accepting them all. Is it legal to agree to one document that links to terms in another document?

    The following is quoted from their TOS:

    The MSN Web Sites are offered to you conditioned on your acceptance without modification of the terms, conditions, and notices contained herein. Your use of the MSN Web Sites constitutes your agreement to all such terms, conditions, and notices. Your use of a particular MSN Web Site included within the MSN Web Sites may also be subject to additional terms outlined elsewhere in this agreement (the "Additional Terms"). To go directly to any of the Additional Terms, click on the link below:

    Carpoint

    GamingZone

    MSN Health

    MSN Money

    HomeAdvisor

    MSN Hotmail

    Encarta Online

    MSN Mobile

    MSN Music

    MSN Shopping (eShop)

    MSNBC

    Auctions

    MSN Photos

    Additionally, the MSN Web Sites may themselves contain additional terms, codes of conduct or guidelines that govern use of those sites, including without limitation, particular features or offers (for example, sweepstakes or chat areas).
  • by dR.fuZZo (187666)
    So... as near as I can tell, Hotmail can be accessed fine using Mozilla. At least, I haven't had problems before. And now, when I try to get to the Personal Profile page, I get this:


    Browser Not Supported

    Microsoft® .NET Passport no longer supports the Web browser version you are using. Please upgrade to a current Web browser, such as Microsoft Internet Explorer version 4.0 or later, or Netscape Navigator version 4.08 or later.
    • by banky (9941)
      I get this at least once a week; it appears to either be a transient JS bug, or there's some random "screw over non-IE users" code somewhere... :)
  • by Argyle (25623) on Thursday May 16, 2002 @10:50PM (#3534382) Homepage Journal
    This is probably the 100th time there's been mention of trouble with the free webmail systems like Yahoo and Hotmail that people have had.

    It really is worth the money to own a domain and get an email address that no one can fsck with.

    Benefits:
    Not based on your ISP
    No privacy issues
    Multiple email accounts for different purposes
    Can utilize forwarding to webmail
  • by nolife (233813) on Thursday May 16, 2002 @10:51PM (#3534390) Homepage Journal
    As with most issues of this nature..
    If the story hits big, and big media starts questioning the practice, MS will claim that it was a programing error, it was changed but they actually have no plans to really share that data, or it was strictly an "accident" in preparing for some upcoming vapor feature they planned on adding or testing. Sorry..

    If it doesnt hit big the plan will stay put and 99.9% of the users will never know.
    Another reason I always use completely bogus information for these registration things.
    • Fake Info! (Score:3, Insightful)

      by squaretorus (459130)
      Does ANYONE on here set up Hotmail accounts using genuine information? I thought ALL Hotmail accounts, apart maybe from those set up by grannies, were using fake details.

      How hard is it to find a zip code!

      Would you ever knowingly provide Bill with your details?
  • I remember reading the opt-out email from Yahoo. I don't remember the one from HotMail. In fact, the last email I got from them said

    "As a Hotmail member, you have received this e-mail to inform you of new services. Our policy has always been to send e-mail messages only to announce such information, and we'll continue to honor this policy. Thank you for being a Hotmail member."
  • Hotmail is the gateway by which they engage you in the Passport service. These options appear to allow MS to forward your info to other pariticipating Passport sites.

    Same diff, Microsoft is sending your email address places you probably don't want it going, but users should be aware that this is probably pervasive in any Passport service they use, such as MSN messenger (may want to go and check the options on it if you use it).

  • I logged into my Hotmail account to fix this, and it made me reenter my password. Apparently I have a MS Passport profile. I don't want one, and I never asked to have one. I wonder about the legality of this...

    Kinda reminds me of a MS developer mailing list I accidently got subscribed to. I tried to unsubscribe, but to do that I needed a passport profile. So in order to stop getting one anoying mailing list I would have had to give away my info which would be freely distributed among all the marketing companies sleeping with Microsoft.

    • by Fulcrum of Evil (560260) on Thursday May 16, 2002 @11:30PM (#3534611)

      Kinda reminds me of a MS developer mailing list I accidently got subscribed to. I tried to unsubscribe

      Easy solution: set up an out of office message for that list. Every message from the list gets quoted and sent back to the list with some tag like 'Hey look! I don't know how to use my mail client!'. You'll be unsubscribed within the day.

  • Without MS constantly figuring out ways to make people pissed at them, GNU user base might not be growing so fast.

    I know stuff like this only solidifies a conviction to non-MS computer base...someday it'll be hard as diamonds.
  • by mmThe1 (213136) on Thursday May 16, 2002 @10:58PM (#3534448) Homepage
    Phew...looks to me like yet another Microsoft-Slashdot contract ("conspiracy") to bring loads of traffic to Hotmail site...

    P.S. The options with "Share my other registration information" has this text:
    "This information, which is stored in your Microsoft® .NET Passport and required for registration at many Web sites, includes:

    Birth Date
    Country/Region
    State/Territory
    Gender
    Acc essibility
    Time Zone
    Occupation
    "

    This means that whatever fake information I put in Hotmail would be used for all other sites? No Way!
  • We all knowYahoo [slashdot.org] did this a little while back, and AOL did it before that. And how do we know?, well they told us. The fact that Hotmail did it without notification is typical of their business style. I only wonder how many other services (Earthlink, AT&T, etc.) either don't offer an opt out option or reset your preferences unknown to you anyways. As always you get what you pay for.
  • by gelfling (6534) on Thursday May 16, 2002 @11:04PM (#3534482) Homepage Journal
    It's a safe bet that no matter what the vendor says, they will pimp out whatever they can for money. They will lie and cheat and then lie and cheat about that.

    Either don't give them any true or useful information or don't give them any information at all. Leave footprints like misspelling your own name in a very unique way. Track it and complain complain complain when you find them out. cc a copy of your complaint to your state attorney general's office.
  • Did everyone just log onto their Hotmail accounts at once or what? All of a sudden I'm getting the not-so-unfamiliar "Hotmail Account Temporarily Unavailable" screen. YOU SLASHDOTTED HOTMAIL! YOU BASTARDS!
  • 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 Edmund Blackadder (559735) on Thursday May 16, 2002 @11:10PM (#3534515)
    "Microsoft® .NET Passport was temporarily unable to complete your request. Please try again "

    Well i guess their servers are too busy selling my information right now.

    I should try later.
  • OK, I logged in to my "spam-reception" Hotmail account and got this:

    We apologize, but your account is temporarily unavailable. This delay does not affect the entire site or relate specifically to your account, but the machine that holds your account information is temporarily unavailable. We do not expect this delay to last much longer, so please continue to check our site for your account status. We will do our best to make your account available as quickly as possible. We appreciate your support, and sincerely apologize for the inconvenience.
    Wow. Really a great ad for Microsoft technology. I can't wait for the day all Passport and .NET transactions will be based on this great system. I feel reassured they "will do their best" to fix this.
  • 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!!!!
    • 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..)


      Go to Options --> Junk mail deletion and you can choose to send it to /dev/null without it ever counting against your quota.

      But seriously, I don't see why anyone should need more than 2Mb of space in a free email account. I use free email accounts only when I don't trust the person I'm giving the address to to not spam me (but when I need to give an email address to get a confirmation code, etc.)

      My hotmail account has almost never been over 1Mb. If you're using it to store important email, you should either look into downloading your email using a POP3 client or seriously consider getting a real email provider.

      \end{rant}
    • I scrapped Hotmail a long time ago, the second that MS took over. Are there ANY decent webmail sites left out there anymore that don't charge for basic services like automatic forwarding? I'm just not going to pay for a webmail account that I only use as a disposable intermediary between all the info-greedy sites out there and my real account...
      • Are there ANY decent webmail sites left out there anymore that don't charge for basic services like automatic forwarding?

        ...and how easy is it to set one up for those of us who own our own domain?

        I've given out a couple of email addresses on my domain to family, but there's still no way they can configure passwords on their own. I saw a package which lets you run a yahoo-like web email service (skinnable interface, optional POP collection, etc) but that's £500 (and obviously I can't run it on a size-limited hosted webserver)

        Plenty of us have got domains we can use, the question is whether it's possible (or easy) to use them for limited web-based email accounts.
    • JPEG's and banners and flash animations
      Popups and opt-outs and priv'cy violations
      Big boobs and sleep pills and herbal ginsengs,
      This is the junk that my Hotmail box brings

      Fake "" tags, disable Java,
      Disable plugins from Macromedia
      Limit the things that your browser can do,
      This is the junk hotmail forces on you

      When the dot nets,
      When the hail storms,
      When the passport pries,
      I simply sign up for more hotmail accounts
      And continue to falsify

      ActiveX scripting and ASP pages
      Profiteeting in which hotmail engages,
      Exploiting users who don't have a clue,
      This is what people at Microsoft do

      Bending o'er backwards to meets terms of service,
      Changing agreements that made me feel nervous
      Clauses, execptions will bite you some day,
      This legal mumbo has pushed me away

      When the terms change,
      When the box's checked,
      It's my Waterloo
      I'll never sign up for more hotmail accounts
      From now on I'll use...

      Netscape mail!
  • Honest question. Why not use an email client. You can get email addresses other ways than Hotmail. Then you are more likely to avoid some nasty license agreement, and risk it changing.

    MSFT is constantly proving they are nothing but a bunch of uncle f^c&er$. -Terrance and Phillip

  • 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 Kris_J (10111) on Thursday May 16, 2002 @11:22PM (#3534578) Journal
    So much for Microsoft and its smarts. Either the policy is wrong or Microsoft was wrong to pre-check the boxes to share information -- both cannot be right.
    As a database programmer I know it's totally possible for checkboxes to display information contrary to what the real database has stored. Imagine that a given field is supposed to contain the values 0 or 1. 0 means no and 1 means yes. It's quite possible for a NULL value on a new field to be rendered as yes, even though nothing has been decided yet. If X == 0 then no else yes. There.
    • Unless they're really weird there is no reason to store a NULL (most used to represent missing or unknown information) on a bi-state tick box which they know the answer to as all users have been through that screen at some point.
  • by Mongoose (8480) on Thursday May 16, 2002 @11:31PM (#3534614) Homepage
    Everyone sign up for a dozen hotmail accounts and effectively posion they're market data. If companies find out 50% of the email addresses on hotmail.com are false then they'll pay MS less money to host _more_ addresses.

    I hate to be the one to call for this, however it's just as legal as what they're doing. It's no the moral thing to do but it is legal. It's time to do something all you little /. trolls.
  • by fiver-hoo (12326) <niggemyer.1NO@SPAMosu.edu> on Thursday May 16, 2002 @11:31PM (#3534616) Homepage
    I have on old hotmail account that gets 100+ pieces of spam a day, and I no longer recieve any personal email to that account. What I've done, is I use Gotmail [freshmeat.net] to download all the email, then pipe it to Razor [sourceforge.net]. I do this every day from a cron job. If every slashdot user set up a hotmail account with a phony name, and ALLOWED the spam to come by not changing thier preferences, this would be a pretty good way to keep Razor, or whatever other spam reporting service you are using current.

    I say bring em' on! I'm happy to waste MS's bandwith, and glad to help keep the spam databases current, so those of us running Spamassassin [spamassassin.org] can keep our real email accounts clean.
  • 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.
  • ...That's the value of the button on the Browser Limitations page when I log in... My browser reports the user agent as Space Bison. I'm actually using IE 6, but my proxy [proxomitron [proxomitron.org]] reports whatever I want, though that's the default. I had no problem updating my |options|personal profile. If the page is actually detecting my browser by sniffing DOM objects and specially allowing me, I'd be surprised, but if you MOZ/Konq/Opera users are actually blocked from updating that would really suck. The whole trick sucks, but M$ isn't the first (yahoo betrayed me some time ago). My demographic info is probably all over the place, but in both cases they've only managed to poison their databases. All the info I gave them was spoofed, except for the hotmail address, which I mainly use as a spam-sink anyway.
    So, I guess that's my moral to the story... don't just use these services... USE them. Everyone that asks for your demographic info is giving you the opportunity to make ALL of that database less valid and less useful. This really is an opportunity.

  • I moved not long ago and never changed my profile. But my profile now shows my new state and zip! My GF's Hotmail account profile was changed likewise, and she never changed her profile, too!
  • by Anonymous Coward
    ...because of some stupid little thing like this?

    Not because Windows XP forces you to call Microsoft to "register" it if you buy a new motherboard?

    Not because Outlook and Outlook Express open attachments and install viruses, worms, and trojans FOR you?

    Not because Microsoft voids your software's license because you "installed it too many times"?

    Not because Media Player was shipped with spyware in it?

    Not because Microsoft is forcing ridiculous licensing schemes onto educational institutions?

    Not because Microsoft treats their users like babies and thinks that they know better than you what you want to do with your computer?

    Not because they got rid of Clippy from MS Office?

    Not because they bullied OEMs to install ONLY Microsoft operating environments?

    Good grief... If THIS is what it takes to drive people over the edge, they shoulda went with writing a new "we 0wNz your house, car, wife, and kids" clause in their EULA.
  • by Restil (31903) on Thursday May 16, 2002 @11:45PM (#3534712) Homepage
    (If you're a user, login, go to Options > Personal Profile, and un-check the boxes at the bottom of that page.)

    Shouldn't that read something like...

    "If you're a user, then the preference to change is your email provider."

    -Restil
  • 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 flacco (324089) on Friday May 17, 2002 @01:01AM (#3535042)
    Watching Microsoft deal with "consumers" is like being an orderly in the coma ward, and walking in on the head physician while he's raping unconscious patients in their hospital beds.
  • by Get Behind the Mule (61986) on Friday May 17, 2002 @02:48AM (#3535426)
    Viruses, security holes and general indifference about computer security; price-gouging licensing schemes; BSA audits; FUD about open source software; and now a breach of the privacy of Hotmail users (not to mention increasingly poor service for Hotmail). And then there's the antitrust trial, with revelations of threats and retaliation against OEM's, ISP's and software vendors; arrogant definace of the DOJ and the courts; no willingness to compomise, no insight or remorse; fabricated evidence in the courtroom; and Bill Gates on his deposition video in a seething rage, rocking back and forth in his chair, playing ignorant and obstinate, claiming not to understand simple words and not to remember crucial business decisions, only to be squarely contradicted by his own email.

    When the Church of $cientology began a few years ago to confront their critics on the Internet, some of the critics began to refer to their campaign as Operation Footbullet, because the Co$ simply blundered again and again in highly public fashion. Their corruption and outright craziness became more obvious than ever before to anyone who cared to look.

    Has the Micro$oft Corporation been conducting its own Operation Footbullet? Up until about two or three years ago, much of this was ignored by the media and there was almost no awareness of their excesses in the general public. And of course many people still don't pay much attention to the software industry. But anyone who pays the least bit of attention is faced with a constant stream of reports about ruthlessness and frankly criminal behavior, a profound lack of respect for consumers and business partners, and a general stench of unethical behavior that can only be overpowered by Enron's awful stink. I suppose Enron is ahead of M$ on the scales of immorality, but nevertheless, M$ is risking going down in history as one of the greediest and most ruthless plutocrats since the the robber barons of the railroad and Standard Oil days -- and those are the ones who've held the record for over a hundred years!

    Of course, some people will respond that I'm exaggerating. I'll probably even get modded as Flamebait or Troll. And indeed, it really is hard to state the case against Micro$oft without sounding like a zealot, because the accusations are simply so hair-raising, it's hard for the uninitiated to believe that they're all true (this is, in fact, what I used to think about the Church of $cientology). Judge Jackson should not have shot his mouth off the way he did, but who could blame the man, he probably just couldn't help himself. The awful fact is that M$ is one of the most appalling corporate gangsters in all of history.
  • by Otis_INF (130595) on Friday May 17, 2002 @03:27AM (#3535519) Homepage
    Let me get this straight:
    - It's totally free
    - They provide a huge pile of hardware, software and people to keep up the site and datastores.
    - They don't want money in return
    - Everything but the sun costs money

    So you people think that MS is a philantropic organisation? ALWAYS ask yourself when something is 'free' and the provider of the service has to spent a lot of money to give you this service for 'free': "Where's the catch?". I find this moaning about Hotmail rather silly, if you ask me. If you don't like it, get a real ISP account. Yes that costs money, start wondering where that money's for.
  • 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 Shirotae (44882) on Friday May 17, 2002 @06:18AM (#3535895)

    I was just logging out after turning off those options that had magically been turned on when I noticed this URL go by in the address bar

    http://msn.co.uk/webinclude/MigrateCookiesAcrossDo mains.asp

    fortunately, the system was being so slow that I had time to capture it. It looks as if the protections we are supposed to have about cookies not being sent to different domains mean nothing to Microsoft. No surprise there then.

What this country needs is a good five dollar plasma weapon.

Working...