No Porn Allowed on Microsoft's SkyDrive Cloud

REDMOND, Wash. — Microsoft won’t let users store porn files or video on its SkyDrive cloud service when its new Windows 8 OS and Windows 8 phone are launched this fall.

The tech giant’s Windows Live code of conduct is restricting any form of nudity including "non-human forms such as cartoons, fantasy art or manga" (even in private folders).

“You will not upload, post, transmit, transfer, distribute, or facilitate distribution of any content (including text, images, sound, video, data, information or software) or otherwise use the service in a way that: depicts nudity of any sort, including full or partial human nudity, or nudity in nonhuman forms such as cartoons, fantasy art or manga; incites, advocates, or expresses pornography, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity, hatred, bigotry, racism, or gratuitous violence,” the code states.

Violators will not just get slapped on the wrists but could be shut down from the cloud completely and even lose their Outlook email account, MS Office and Xbox 360 device software, and any legit Windows apps.

VentureBeat's Sean Ludwig found that Microsoft’s cloud has the most restrictive obscenity restrictions of all the major cloud storage hosts including Google Drive, DropBox and SugarSync.

Google only restricts sharing porn and DropBox and SugarSync don’t restrict content other than anything illegal or pirated, according to Ludwig.

“This incredibly strict code of conduct could end up cutting off other services you depend on," Ludwig said.

Although cloud services do inspect files on their servers to protect themselves against liability for child porn and criminal acts, restrictions need to be made more clearly.

Ludwig noted that SkyDrive is being pushed for Windows 8 OS and the default for saving files in Office 2013 instead of a local hard drive. He called for Microsoft to be more specific and clear on definitions of the terms “obscenity” and “vulgarity” and argued that a personal photo of couple in bed or some swear words in a Word doc could put a users’ files at risk.

A Microsoft spokesperson skated the issues and responded, “With 60 million SkyDrive customers in more than 100 countries, Microsoft works hard to keep SkyDrive available around the world as the trusted place for people to store personal data. In order to do this, we’ve built SkyDrive to respect the privacy of our users while also ensuring it is not used for illegal activity  —  such as the distribution of child pornography.

“As a general practice, we do not comment on internal processes; however, we have strict internal policies in place to limit access to a user’s data, and we have advanced mechanisms to ensure users abide by our Code of Conduct. For example, we pioneered automated scanning for child pornography through the PhotoDNA project — now used by other industry leaders. Any content we find to be in violation of our Code of Conduct is subject to removal — and in rare cases, can lead to temporary or permanent shutdown of an account. We understand no system is perfect. That’s why we are constantly improving our ability to ensure the privacy, security and availability of our users’ data around the world.”

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