It doesn’t matter that Microsoft has reconsidered its right to read your email if they’re doing things that they don’t like. Seriously, that they did so quickly was great:
Effective immediately, if we receive information indicating that someone is using our services to traffic in stolen intellectual or physical property from Microsoft, we will not inspect a customer’s private content ourselves. Instead, we will refer the matter to law enforcement if further action is required.
This is a far cry from:
As part of the investigation, we undertook a limited review of this third party’s Microsoft operated accounts. While Microsoft’s terms of service make clear our permission for this type of review, this happens only in the most exceptional circumstances. We applied a rigorous process before reviewing such content. In this case, there was a thorough review by a legal team separate from the investigating team and strong evidence of a criminal act that met a standard comparable to that required to obtain a legal order to search other sites. In fact, as noted above, such a court order was issued in other aspects of the investigation.
They were well within their right to do as they did, but what they did was “wrong” in the moral sense of how the general public feels that they should handle things. Going from a “we’ll police this” to a “let’s let law enforcement police this” position in a week or so is a great result from a huge company like Microsoft. If this kind of agility is something that will be a characteristic going forward, I’m optimistic about their chances for relevance in 3-5 years.
But I’m writing today not to excoriate/praise Microsoft but to again champion Fastmail (note: referral link). I fully stand behind my rant stating that I don’t trust Internet services that I don’t pay for. Here’s why I use Fastmail. Marco Arment uses Fastmail, and Michael Lopp is clearly thinking about it. For something as important as email is, don’t use a provider that treats you as the product. Your email is the product, and they have a responsibility to have as great of an uptime as possible. You get what you pay for. I’ve been using Fastmail for nearly eight years, and I’m very happy with it.