Hotmail’s social networking busts your privacy

Woody leonhard By Woody Leonhard

In its rush to take on Facebook and Google Buzz, Microsoft is now collecting and displaying personal information on your Hotmail page — information you may never have wanted to broadcast.

Exactly how it’s mining this information is something of a mystery, but if you use Hotmail or Windows Live, it’s time to review your privacy settings — lest something you said or did comes back to haunt you.

One user signed in to her Hotmail account recently and was greeted with Microsoft’s new, improved social networking splash page, shown in Figure 1.

Hotmail's new user home page
Figure 1. When you sign in to Hotmail, you now see the “Today” page with its new social networking format.

What’s wrong with this picture? All three What’s new with your network entries contain potentially embarrassing information that the authors never dreamed would appear on someone else’s Hotmail sign-in page. I speak with authority — I’m one of the contacts.

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All Windows Secrets articles posted on 2010-04-22:

Woody Leonhard

About Woody Leonhard

Woody Leonhard is a Windows Secrets senior editor and a senior contributing editor at InfoWorld. His latest book, the comprehensive 1,080-page Windows 8 All-In-One For Dummies, delves into all the Win8 nooks and crannies. His many writings tell it like it is — whether Microsoft likes it or not.