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Microsoft Revamps Blog Removal Policy

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The company announced a new “policy framework” concerning the removal of blogs from its MSN Spaces services when requested to do so by a government.

Microsoft drew considerable criticism when it censored a Chinese blogger’s site. The company’s in-house blogger Robert Scoble publicly denounced his employer for deleting the blog of Zhao Jing, also known as Michael Anti. Plenty of external criticism followed.

In Lisbon for the Microsoft Government Leaders Forum, Microsoft’s senior VP and general counsel Brad Smith announced an updated policy the company will follow regarding blogs and government restrictions.

A statement from Microsoft detailed the three main points of its updated policy framework:

Explicit standards for protecting content access: Microsoft will remove access to blog content only when it receives a legally binding notice from the government indicating that the material violates local laws, or if the content violates MSN’s terms of use.

Maintaining global access: Microsoft will remove access to content only in the country issuing the order. When blog content is blocked due to restrictions based on local laws, the rest of the world will continue to have access. This is a new capability Microsoft is implementing in the MSN Spaces infrastructure.

Transparent user notification: When local laws require the company to block access to certain content, Microsoft will ensure that users know why that content was blocked, by notifying them that access has been limited due to a government restriction.

Smith defended Microsoft’s action in China, telling journalists Chinese law required Microsoft to remove the blog upon receiving a legal government request to do, IDG reported.

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David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.

Microsoft Revamps Blog Removal Policy
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