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Microsoft has conceded it had searched emails in a blogger’s Hotmail account to find out who was leaking company secrets.
The company launched the hunt in a case involving former employee Alex Kibkalo, a Russian native who worked for Microsoft as a software architect in Lebanon.
Microsoft discovered in September 2012 after examining the Hotmail account of the blogger that Kibkalo allegedly shared proprietary Microsoft code. The blogger has not been identified.
The email search uncovered messages from Kibkalo to the blogger containing fixes for the Windows 8 RT operating system before they were released publicly. Microsoft alleges Kibkalo also shared a software development kit that could be helpful to hackers to understand more about how Microsoft uses product keys to activate software.
The company has also examined files in Kibkalo’s cloud storage account, which until last month was called SkyDrive which he used to share files with the blogger.
Hotmail’s terms of service includes a section that says, “We may access or disclose information about you, including the content of your communications, in order to… protect the rights or property of Microsoft or our customers.”
Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft has taken a defiant stand against intrusions of customer privacy, in the wake of National Security Agency systems analyst Edward Snowden’s revelations of government snooping into online activities.