Microsoft recently made headlines for working with law enforcement to track down the source of Windows software leaks… and a lot of that press focused on the fact that the company read the emails of a Hotmail user as part of the investigation.
Last week company officials defended the practice, saying they had enough information to warrant a court order… but that a court wouldn’t order Microsoft to release information from its own servers.
Plenty of people were unimpressed with that response and now Microsoft has announced a new policy: Instead of snooping on users of its free email services, the company will now refer the matter to law enforcement agencies.
Here’s a roundup of tech news from around the web.
- Microsoft promises to refer future investigations to law enforcement instead of reading your email
This doesn’t change the fact that web-based email providers *can* still snoop on your email at will. But at least it’s nice to see a company respond to criticism with an internal policy change to address concerns regarding privacy. [Microsoft]
- BlackBerry considers bringing BBM (Blackberry Messenger) to desktops
BBM is now available for Android and iOS. One day you might be able to use it on a desktop or notebook PC as well. [Engadget
- Google requires Android phone makers include "Powered by Android" on boot screen to qualify for Google Mobile Service
Sure, Samsung, HTC, and other phone makers load up their phones with custom skins so that while they run Android software and support apps from the Google Play Store, a Samsung phone looks like a Samsung device and an HTC model like an HTC device. But Google's starting to apply a bit of pressure to make sure its brand is still visible. [Geek]
- MicrobeScope turns an iPhone into a portable microscope (crowd-funding project)
Sure, you can use digital zoom to try to make out fine details in photos you snap with your phone camera… but the results will probably stink. This iPhone accessory turns Apple’s handset into a portable 800x microscope. The developers are running a crowd-funding project, and offering units as rewards for $125 pledges. [BackerJack]
- Ubi’s hands-free, voice activated computer is now shipping
Ubi launched a crowd-funding campaign in late 2012 to build an always-on, voice-controlled Android device that you plug into a wall jack and then talk to when you want to ask questions or issue commands. You can perform a web search, ask for weather forecasts, or even send email or SMS messages. It’s now shipping to backers and TechCrunch checked it out. [TechCrunch]