Microsoft says it snooped on Hotmail to track leak

FILE - In this Thursday, Aug. 23, 2012 file photo, the Microsoft Corp. logo, left, is seen on an exterior wall of a new Microsoft store inside the Prudential Center mall, in Boston.  (AP Photo/Steven Senne, File)
FILE - In this Thursday, Aug. 23, 2012 file photo, the Microsoft Corp. logo, left, is seen on an exterior wall of a new Microsoft store inside the Prudential Center mall, in Boston. (AP Photo/Steven Senne, File)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Microsoft has skewered rival Google for going through customer emails to deliver ads, but it’s acknowledging that it searched a blogger’s Hotmail account to track down who was leaking company secrets.

John Frank, deputy general counsel for Hotmail’s owner, Microsoft, said in a statement Thursday that the company “took extraordinary actions in this case.” He says that in future, Microsoft would consult a former judge to determine if a court order would have allowed such a search.

The case involves former employee Alex Kibkalo, a Russian native who worked for Microsoft Corp. in Lebanon.

According to an FBI complaint against Kibkalo filed in federal court in Seattle on Monday, Microsoft found him in September 2012 after examining the Hotmail account of the blogger with whom Kibkalo allegedly shared proprietary Microsoft code.

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