Microsoft plays the Child Pornography card in SkyDrive privacy debacle

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The Venus di Milo would be banned as nudity in non-human form under SkyDrive’s code of conduct.

Microsoft has released a statement to Neowin addressing the recently raised issue of banning SkyDrive users for violating their code of conduct (which includes many things which would be perfectly legal in USA). The statement relies heavily on the bogeyman of child pornography, which as far as we know are not involved in any cases we know of.

It reads:

With 60 million SkyDrive customers in more than 100 countries, Microsoft works hard to keep SkyDrive available around the world as the trusted place for people to store personal data. In order to do this, we’ve built SkyDrive to respect the privacy of our users while also ensuring it is not used for illegal activity – such as the distribution of child pornography.

As a general practice, we do not comment on internal processes; however, we have strict internal policies in place to limit access to a user’s data, and we have advanced mechanisms to ensure users abide by our Code of Conduct. For example, we pioneered automated scanning for child pornography through the PhotoDNA project – now used by other industry leaders.

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 user’s data around the world.

While Microsoft would like the emphasis to be on the child porn aspect, I think the “60 million SkyDrive customers in more than 100 countries” aspect is the telling part.  In fact many things which are perfectly legal in USA, such as regular pornography or promoting gun sales, are illegal in places like Malaysia, Germany and UK.

While Microsoft’s Code of Conduct makes the banned items explicit, Microsoft appears to be being very cautious about revealing the agenda of enforcing the (sometimes extreme) laws of other countries on uninvolved citizens around the world.

It is worth once again having a read of the Code of Conduct posted after the break to see how extreme it is, banning  discount cards and anime for example.

With its current terms of service the cloud storage is really not suitable for day to day use, especially with the use of automated tools which apparently shows little discretion.

See the code of conduct after the break.

Prohibited Uses

You will not upload, post, transmit, transfer, distribute or facilitate distribution of any content (including text, images, sound, video, data, information or software) or otherwise use the service in a way that:

  • depicts nudity of any sort including full or partial human nudity or nudity in non-human forms such as cartoons, fantasy art or manga.
  • incites, advocates, or expresses pornography, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity, hatred, bigotry, racism, or gratuitous violence.
  • misrepresents the source of anything you post or upload, including impersonation of another individual or entity.
  • provides or creates links to external sites that violate this Code of Conduct.
  • includes content that is protected by intellectual property laws, rights of privacy or publicity, or any other applicable law unless you own or control the rights thereto or have received all necessary consents.
  • is intended to harm or exploit minors in any way.
  • is designed to solicit, or collect personally identifiable information of any minor (anyone under 18 years old), including, but not limited to: name, email address, home address, phone number, or the name of their school.
  • invades anyone’s privacy by attempting to harvest, collect, store, or publish private or personally identifiable information, such as passwords, account information, credit card numbers, addresses, or other contact information without their knowledge and willing consent.
  • is illegal or violates any applicable local and national laws; including but not limited to child pornography, bestiality, incest, illegal drugs, software piracy, and harassment.
  • threatens, stalks, defames, defrauds, degrades, victimizes or intimidates an individual or group of individuals for any reason; including on the basis of age, gender, disability, ethnicity, sexual orientation, race or religion; or incites or encourages anyone else to do so.
  • harms or disrupts, or intends to harm or disrupt, another user’s computer or would allow you or others to illegally access software or bypass security on Web sites, or servers, including but not limited to spamming.
  • attempts to impersonate a Microsoft employee, agent, manager, host, administrator, moderator, another user or any other person through any means.
  • promotes or otherwise facilitates the purchase and sale of ammunition or firearms.
  • contains or could be considered ‘junk mail’, ‘spam’, ‘chain letters’, ‘pyramid schemes’, ‘affiliate marketing’ or unsolicited commercial advertisement.
  • mischaracterizes content you post or upload or contains the same or similar content to other content you have already posted.
  • attempts to manipulate the services, including ranking and reputation systems in the services, by violating any of the provisions of this Code of Conduct, colluding with others on voting or using multiple profiles.
  • offers to make international money transfers for amounts exceeding the asking price of an item, with intent to request a refund of any portion of the payment.
  • contains advertising for money making schemes, discount cards, credit counseling, online surveys or online contests.

You will not use any form of automated device or computer program that enables the submission of postings without the express written consent of Microsoft Corporation.

Termination and Cancellation

Microsoft reserves the right, at its sole discretion, and without any obligation to do so, to review and remove user-created services and content at will and without notice, and delete content and accounts. Microsoft reserves the right, at its sole discretion, to ban participants or terminate access to services.

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