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Microsoft To Ban Offensive Language and Monitor Your Private Accounts

Microsoft logo with lights
Joshua Rowe
Joshua Rowe
Mar 31, 2018 • 2 min read • Posted in News


Microsoft is warning customers who use their services that using offensive language, hateful or malicious content, or anything else deemed inappropriate in their Terms of Services could launch an investigation into your private accounts and possibly a ban.

On March 1st, Microsoft updated their Terms of Service Agreement issuing a warning to their customers using Microsoft Office, Skype, Xbox, and other products that the company will be prohibiting offensive language and inappropriate content starting on May 1st. Here's an excerpt from their updated Terms of Service Agreement:
GameStop, Inc.

Don't publicly display or use the Services to share inappropriate content or material (involving, for example, nudity, bestiality, pornography, offensive language, graphic violence, or criminal activity).


The software giant has also added that the company plans on investigating users who are accused of violating their updated policies and will block content from being sent to other people.

While this may seem to be common sense in most cases, many are stating the guidelines are too vague. Civil rights activist and law student Jonathan Corbett questioned the new policy:

I can't use Skype to have an adult video call my girlfriend? I can't use OneDrive to back up a document that says 'fucking' in it? If I call someone a mean name in Xbox Live, not only will they cancel my account, but also confiscate any funds I've deposited into my account?


The uproar is understandable. Exactly how far would Microsoft go to consider something as inappropriate and would they take immediate action into banning you entirely on a first offense? Corbett raises valid concerns with private calls and documents when they're not uploaded or shown to the public. Xbox Live alone would be more understandable. Diving into your personal calls and documents that don't go public is another story and where the concern lies.

Digital rights group Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) argues that Microsoft's new policy stems from Congress passing two new sex trafficking bills, The Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (FOSTA) and the Stop Enabling Sex-Trafficking Act (SESTA), which both hold platforms responsible for users' speech, illegally shared content, and anything connected to sex trafficking.

EFF claims SESTA and FOSTA "silence online speech by forcing Internet platforms to censor their users." while the Department of Justice has stated that the new policies raise "serious constitutional concern."

What are your thoughts on Microsoft's new policy? Are you at all concerned that this will open the door for Microsoft to snoop through your private data or do you believe this is the next step needed for a safer, cleaner Internet?

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