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Microsoft

Microsoft is an American technology company, best known for creating Windows and Office.


Handling

Does the policy allow personally-targeted or behavioral marketing? Yes, but you can opt-out

3.5/10

Decided Sept. 12, 2019 (revision history). This question accounts for 12% of the final score.

Possible Options

Yes0/10
Yes, but you can opt-out3.5/10
Yes, but you must opt-in7/10
No10/10

Citation

Many products include personalized features, such as recommendations that enhance your productivity and enjoyment. These features use automated processes to tailor your product experiences based on the data we have about you, such as inferences we make about you and your use of the product, activities, interests, and location.

The ads that you see may be selected based on data we process about you, such as your interests and favorites, your location, your transactions, how you use our products, your search queries, or the content you view. For example, if you view content on MSN about automobiles, we may show advertisements about cars; if you search “pizza places in Seattle” on Bing, you may see advertisements in your search results for restaurants in Seattle.

The ads that you see may also be selected based on other information learned about you over time using demographic data, location data, search queries, interests and favorites, usage data from our products and sites, as well as the sites and apps of our advertisers and partners. We refer to these ads as "interest-based advertising" in this statement. For example, if you view gaming content on xbox.com, you may see offers for games on MSN. To provide interest-based advertising, we combine cookies placed on your device using information that we collect (such as IP address) when your browser interacts with our websites. If you opt out of receiving interest-based advertising, data associated with these cookies will not be used.

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Does the service allow third-party access to private personal data? Yes, not all parties specified

0/10

Decided Sept. 12, 2019 (revision history). This question accounts for 12% of the final score.

The policy allows sharing personal data with third-parties (not just critical service providers), and does not explicitly list the third-parties.

This may come in the form of outright data sharing or by using local third-party analytics software (such as Google Analytics, which collects a plethora of user information).

Note that whether the policy allows sharing aggregated user data does not affect this question.

If the personal data is encrypted when it passes through the third-party, it does not count as third-party access (as the data is inaccessible to that party).

If personal data has been made public by, for example, posting it to a blog, it does not count as private personal information (and is therefore not considered by this question).

Possible Options

Yes, not all parties specified0/10
Yes, all parties specified (including non-critical service providers such as advertisers)3/10
Yes, not all parties specified (but only to critical service providers)7/10
Yes, all parties specified (only to critical service providers)8/10
No10/10

Citation

We may share data we collect with third parties, such as Oath, AppNexus, or Facebook (see below), so that the ads you see in our products, their products, or other sites and apps serviced by these partners are more relevant and valuable to you.

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Does the service allow you to permanently delete your personal data? Yes, using an automated mechanism

5/5

Decided Sept. 12, 2019 (revision history). This question accounts for 6% of the final score.

Even if there is a reasonable delay before the data is fully deleted (as is common), the data still counts as "permanently deleted" and satisfies the parameters for this question.

Possible Options

No0/5
Yes, by contacting someone3/5
Yes, using an automated mechanism5/5
N/A (no personal information collected)5/5

Citation

You can control some of the data Microsoft processes through your use of a Microsoft account on the Microsoft privacy dashboard. From here, for example, you can view and clear the browsing, search, and location data associated with your Microsoft account.

Note

Presumably, by clearing one's data in the privacy dashboard and then deleting one's account, the information will be permanently deleted.

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When does the policy allow law enforcement access to personal data? When reasonably requested

3/5

Decided Sept. 12, 2019 (revision history). This question accounts for 6% of the final score.

Possible Options

Always0/5
Not specified0/5
When reasonably requested3/5
Only when required by a court order or subpoena4/5
N/A (no personal data to share)5/5
Never (special legal jurisdiction)5/5

Citation

Finally, we will retain, access, transfer, disclose, and preserve personal data, including your content, when we have a good faith belief that doing so is necessary to comply with applicable law or respond to valid legal process, including from law enforcement or other government agencies.

As our report shows, every year we reject a number of law enforcement requests. Challenges to government requests can take many forms. In many of these cases, we simply inform the requesting government that we are unable to disclose the requested information and explain our reason for rejecting the request. We also, where it is appropriate, challenge requests in court.

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Transparency

Does the policy require users to be notified in case of a data breach? No

0/7

Decided Sept. 12, 2019 (revision history). This question accounts for 8% of the final score.

Note that all companies operating in the EU are subject to Art. 33 of the GDPR, which requires companies to notify their data protection authority of a data breach within 72 hours of discovering it.

Possible Options

No0/7
Yes, eventually5/7
Yes, within 72 hours7/7
N/A (the service collects so little personal data that notification would not be possible)7/7

Note

The policy doesn't specify a data breach protocol.

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Is the policy's history made available? Yes, with revisions or a change-log

5/5

Decided Sept. 12, 2019 (revision history). This question accounts for 6% of the final score.

Possible Options

No0/5
Only the date it was last modified3/5
Yes, with revisions or a change-log5/5

Citation

When we post changes, we will revise the "last updated" date at the top of the statement and describe the changes on the Change history page.

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Will the affected users be notified when the policy is meaningfully changed? Yes

5/5

Decided Sept. 12, 2019 (revision history). This question accounts for 6% of the final score.

Possible Options

No0/5
Yes5/5
N/A (no personal data—or contact information—collected)5/5

Citation

If there are material changes to the statement, such as a change to the purposes of processing of personal data that is not consistent with the purpose for which it was originally collected, we will notify you either by prominently posting a notice of such changes before they take effect or by directly sending you a notification. We encourage you to periodically review this privacy statement to learn how Microsoft is protecting your information.

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Does the policy outline the service's general security practices? Somewhat

1/3

Decided Sept. 12, 2019 (revision history). This question accounts for 4% of the final score.

The policy provides only a very vague overview of its security practices.

Possible Options

No0/3
Somewhat1/3
Yes2/3
Yes, including audits2.5/3
N/A (no personal data collected)3/3
Yes, including independent audits3/3

Citation

Microsoft is committed to protecting the security of your personal data. We use a variety of security technologies and procedures to help protect your personal data from unauthorized access, use, or disclosure. For example, we store the personal data you provide on computer systems that have limited access and are in controlled facilities. When we transmit highly confidential data (such as a credit card number or password) over the internet, we protect it through the use of encryption.

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Collection

Is it clear why the service collects the personal data that it does? Mostly

7/10

Decided Sept. 12, 2019 (revision history). This question accounts for 12% of the final score.

This question deals with transparency. Even if the service uses data for reasons that aren't ideal for privacy, provided they list all of those uses, the service can still receive full credit for this question. However, if they are not explicit about their uses (by employing language like "such as"), a lower score is assigned.

Possible Options

No0/10
Somewhat4/10
Mostly7/10
Yes10/10
No personal data is collected10/10

Note

Microsoft extensively lists the types of data collected as well as purposes for collection. However, the reasons why the company collects data is not clearly explained for exactly each piece of data.

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Does the policy list the personal data it collects? Yes, generally

7/10

Decided Sept. 12, 2019 (revision history). This question accounts for 12% of the final score.

All general categories of collected personal data are listed, though not all types of personal data are explicitly mentioned (for example, the list might use a phrase like 'such as' when listing types of personal data).

Possible Options

No0/10
Only summarily3/10
Yes, generally7/10
Yes, exhaustively10/10
N/A (no personal information is collected)10/10

Citation

For example: "Data about your device, your device configuration, and nearby networks. For example, data about the operating systems and other software installed on your device, including product keys. In addition, IP address, device identifiers (such as the IMEI number for phones), regional and language settings, and information about WLAN access points near your device."

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Does the service collect personal data from third parties? Yes

0/10

Decided Sept. 12, 2019 (revision history). This question accounts for 12% of the final score.

This includes the use of data brokers and independent verification authorities (such as background check providers).

Possible Options

Yes0/10
Only for critical data7/10
No10/10

Citation

The third-party sources vary over time and include:

Data brokers from which we purchase demographic data to supplement the data we collect.

Services that make user-generated content from their service available to others, such as local business reviews or public social media posts.

Communication services, including email providers and social networks, when you give us permission to access your data on such third-party services or networks.

Service providers that help us determine your device’s location.

Partners with which we offer co-branded services or engage in joint marketing activities.

Developers who create experiences through or for Microsoft products.

Third parties that deliver experiences through Microsoft products, such as skills related to Cortana.

Publicly-available sources, such as open government databases.

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Does the service allow the user to control whether personal data is used or collected for non-critical purposes? On an opt-out basis, but only for some non-critical data/uses

1.5/5

Decided Sept. 12, 2019 (revision history). This question accounts for 6% of the final score.

Some services allow users to opt-out or opt-in to of non-critical collection or use of personal data, such as collecting data for personalized advertisements.

Possible Options

No0/5
On an opt-out basis, but only for some non-critical data/uses1.5/5
On an opt-out basis, for all non-critical data/uses3/5
N/A (no data used for non-critical purposes)5/5
On an opt-in basis5/5

Citation

"You can opt-out of interest-based advertising through the advertising links within MSN services, or by visiting the Microsoft opt-out page."

Note

The opt-out tool mentioned in the citation is available for _some_ non-critical uses of information, but not across all Microsoft products.

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Warnings

Microsoft has no warnings published on PrivacySpy. PrivacySpy publishes warnings when it learns a service has announced a data breach or is found misusing user data. If you believe a warning should be published for Microsoft, submit one here.


Highlighted Policy Snapshot ALPHA

Highlighted policy snapshots are a highly experimental feature that provide an annotated version of the privacy policy (displayed in a simplified 'reader view') with automatically-generated highlights. This feature is still in its early stages, so apologies if things don't look right!

4.5/10

How we calculate ratings →


Version Added

Sept. 5, 2019

Ratings Updated

Sept. 15, 2019

Warnings

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