Jul 27 2010   8:10PM GMT

Microsoft “Tattletailing” Private Information via Messenger

Arian Eigen Heald Arian Eigen Heald Profile: Arian Eigen Heald

An excellent article written by Woody Leonhard over on, analyzes the “Classic Version” and new beta version of Microsoft’s (“Johnny-come-lately” social networking product) Windows Live. He demonstrates in very detailed fashion that it is impossible to turn off “third party tattling.”

Using Woody’s example, if I have a conversation with Mr. B on Messenger, he involuntarily becomes my “friend.” (When did “friending” become a verb?) If I then have a conversation with Mr. C, Mr B is notified that Mr. C and I are now “friends.”

The article walks us through how many ways Woody tried to disable this feature, including contacting Microsoft, to turn this “it’s not a bug it’s a feature” function OFF. He’s far from a technical dummy, and he had absolutely no success.

Everybody in my “Friends” list now will know the next person I talk to on Messenger. Anyone I use Messenger with. In effect, Messenger notifies everyone else I’ve sent a message to when I communicate with a new person.

Why should I want everyone I’ve ever communicated with via Messenger to know when I communicate via Messenger to someone new? I can’t imagine.

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