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    Guardian (UK): Yahoo, Google and Apple also claim right to read user emails

    The Guardian reports on questions concerning the privacy of individuals’ e-mails when they use Microsoft, Yahoo, Google and Apple e-mail systems:

    Microsoft is not unique in claiming the right to read users’ emails – Apple, Yahoo and Google all reserve that right as well, the Guardian has determined.

    The broad rights email providers claim for themselves has come to light following Microsoft’s admission that it read a journalist’s Hotmail account in an attempt to track down the source of an internal leak. But most webmail services claim the right to read users’ email if they believe that such access is necessary to protect their property. […]

    Following the revelation that Microsoft could, and did, read users’ email, the firm’s deputy general counsel told the Guardian that it would be tightening up its privacy policy. The new rules require an internal and external legal team to review any internal requests for access, and commit the firm to increased transparency over future requests.

    But other major email providers reserve exactly the same rights. […]

    Of the major webmail providers, only Microsoft was prepared to share the internal procedures they have in place governing who can access users’ email without a court order and what reasons they must give to do so. Yahoo declined to comment. Neither Apple nor Google had responded to requests for comment ahead of publication.

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