Microsoft came under a lot of fire from Hotmail users when the company admitted to reading user emails. The company read through the emails of a particular journalist without notifying that user.
Microsoft claims that it was necessary to read the emails in order to determine an internal company leak. But, the fact remains that the emails were read.
The thing is that Microsoft – and any other email company – can legally read through user emails. How is this possible? Companies that provide an email service (Google, Yahoo, and all others) legally own that service. You are using the service for free. This means that you have agreed to company terms, and those terms may include the right for a company to read your emails.
It’s All About Property
Sure, there’s outrage over the idea that emails can be legally read by companies. But here’s the fact of the matter: you don’t own the email service that you use. A company does. Companies like Microsoft, Google, Yahoo, and various others. You’re just using the service. It’s kind of like Skype. If you use Skype, you should know that Microsoft also has the right to read your Skype messages and tap into phone calls. Again, you’re using a free service, but nothing is ever free.
Shouldn’t you have some rights here? Well, no. Email programs and messenger programs are company property, and that’s private property. On the flip side, any company seeking to gain user trust would quickly point out how that company does not read through emails - a good selling point. However, those companies are rare. Even if you decide to use an email provider that’s located outside of North America, don’t be surprised if those companies read through your messages too.
Can You Protect Your Information?
The thing about cloud companies like Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft (or companies that provide cloud services like email) is that these companies completely control your data. You don’t have any real control over whether or not the information you send out via cloud services is read, how it’s handled, or even if it’s sent – once, I received more than ten responses from a friend at once.
All of those responses were actually sent more than a month ago, but I received them a good four months later. This kind of glitch makes you wonder whether or not emails are being read, right?
So, what can you do? Well, when it comes to email providers, not much. You can try to use email service sparingly, or look for those that promise not to peek. Also, realize that the internet is never a completely safe and secure place.
While email, social media sites, and any other website may seem safe (or program), the truth is that unless you are controlling your own data, you can’t really keep it all under wraps. Some company may decide that your emails are worth reading, and that will mean that you can’t do anything about it.
If you are going to store company data via cloud, though, make sure that you do have complete control over that data by using a service like Cloud306 or other private cloud option.
Are you worried about your emails?