Hi Lifehacker, I recently signed up for Microsoft's OneDrive, but I'm still not sure: can data I store there be manipulated, copied or accessed by Microsoft staff? I have all the personal information on my drive now synced, and it's something of a concern. Thanks, Driving Me Crazy
Putting any kind of data into the cloud involves a rather obvious leap of faith because you're implicitly placing data onto a service over which you don't have any control.
may disclose information and content to Microsoft affiliates and vendors; when required by law or to respond to valid legal process; to protect our customers; to protect lives; and to maintain the security of our services. We may also disclose information and content to protect the rights or property of Microsoft – however, if we receive information indicating that someone is using our services to traffic in stolen intellectual or physical property of Microsoft, we will not inspect a customer’s private content ourselves, but we may refer the matter to law enforcement.
So the practical upshot of all that? It's mostly unlikely that a specific Microsoft staffer will go snooping through your private photos, but in the case of legal requests or where the server itself sniffs out that you happen to have a lot of large files that correspond with, say, popular Hollywood movie titles, you may end up being referred to law enforcement authorities, who may also come knocking at Microsoft's door.
OneDrive also doesn't offer encryption as standard, which isn't ideal if you're notably privacy-minded. But for day-to-day use, any cloud service is unlikely to put you at risk.
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