Microsoft is caught up in a privacy storm after it admitted it read the Hotmail inbox of a blogger while pursuing a software leak investigation.

On Thursday, the firm acknowledged it read the anonymous blogger’s emails in order to identify an employee it suspected of leaking information.

Microsoft owns Hotmail, a free email service now called

John Frank, deputy general counsel for Microsoft, said it took “extraordinary actions in this case”.

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UPDATE: Microsoft revises policy:

“However, Microsoft Deputy General Counsel John Frank assured that in future the company officials will present evidence to an outside lawyer who is a former federal judge, before its investigators access information from customer accounts.” [REF]

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