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Microsoft's Fourth Amendment Freewheeling

According to ReadWriteWeb, watchdog site Cryptome was recently "removed from the Web" for refusing to take down a copy of a certain Microsoft document. Named the Microsoft Online Services Global Criminal Compliance Handbook -- or "spy guide" -- the document apparently gives details on how law enforcement can grab user data from a wide range of Microsoft services, from Windows Live ID to Xbox Live to Hotmail.

"Microsoft holds and can reveal a huge amount of data on individuals through their social networking and file-sharing services," notes ReadWriteWeb. "These data include IP addresses, credit cards, chat logs and much more." Most alarming, however, is the fact that "LE and government officials are often given user data by companies such as Microsoft without having to provide any kind of justification -- not legal documents, not proof of criminal activity and not evidence of guilt," sources tell ReadWriteWeb.

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