Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Microsoft Live has no respect for users privacy choices

I am a member of a small private blog that discusses matters of a highly personal nature. There are a couple dozen members. The blog was hosted on, which recently upgraded its services/UI. As part of this upgrade, the ability to comment anonymously on blogposts was removed. Anonymous comments can be abused by spammers, I get that, its why I moderate comments here on the Hideaway. But on a blog with restricted membership I think the threat of spam is about nil. Is having a system intelligent enough to respect user privacy in that situation too much to ask for though? Lemme seeā€¦ IF blog has restricted membership ALLOW blog owner to SELECT whether or not to allow members to comment anonymously. Yeah, that's some wicked complicated logic. But whatever, new policy moving forward, I can live with that. Sucks as people are less likely to comment and engage in supportive discussion - I know I'll think a little more carefully about what I comment since I am personally identified - but at least I know that going in.

But no, it isn't that easy. Because Live went and applied the policy retroactively so all the anonymous comments posted in the past NOW EXPOSE THE COMMENTER'S NAME. Thankfully the blog owner noticed this and shut the blog down completely. Apparently un-selecting the 'use my profile' box and entering a pseudonym for your comment is entirely unsupported now AND they were tracking commenters identity on the back end anyway, so now with no warning what-so-ever to users, the privacy choice users made to un-select that box has been reversed.

Did I mention I'm pissed off?

I will NEVER, NEVER use a Live blog/mashup/cloud offering again. I'd ditch the email too if I didn't need it for my gamertag. Asstards.


Labels: , , , ,