Jamie Thomson

Thoughts, words and deeds

Set me free

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Some of you may have read a recent article entitled "The hard side of Mister Softie" where Microsoft were openly criticized for their policies around sharing of users’ contacts data. Here’s a few quotes from the article and from the comments thereafter:

Microsoft is the anti-data-portability company

If Microsoft really cared about user security, they would add some kind of export-only authentication. Perhaps you could request a one-time-use export code using a button somewhere in Hotmail. Then you could give that to anyone, and they would get one-time access to your contacts.

I must be missing something here because I thought that exporting your contacts was exactly what the Live Contacts API enabled you to do. As Brian Hall, Windows Live General Manager, states when quoted in the article:

If you look at what a number of sites are doing, they’re asking for your Hotmail login info, They’re storing your identity

The scenario described by Hall there is clearly not a preferable one. Hence, Microsoft’s provision a free and secure method of allowing anyone to get your contact data if you let them without divulging your username/password doesn’t strike me as being "anti-data-portability".

To me, the Live Photos API and Live Calendar’s ability to access any calendar (such as this one that I created) via webcal are just two examples that illustrate Microsoft’s willingness to allow users to pass their data to other establishments and I’ll bet there’ll be more announcements around this at MIX in a few weeks time. Again, that doesn’t make Microsoft seem very anti-data-portability to me. Clearly other people disagree so please tell me what I’m missing here. Do Microsoft place restrictions on this access that I don’t know about? I don’t mean that rhetorically either, if you know more than me then please let me know in the comments below. I don’t mind admitting that I’m wrong.

Liveside has their take on this too. Read here.

-Jamie

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Written by Jamiet

February 13, 2008 at 9:37 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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