Microsoft set to simplify agreements and privacy statements

When signing up for an online service or installing new software, it's common to be confronted by a privacy statement as well as a service agreement. It goes without saying that few -- if any -- people bother to read through these as they are not only lengthy, but also packed to bursting with legalise. Microsoft wants to change that.

Starting at the beginning of August, the Microsoft Services Agreement and the Microsoft Privacy Statement will be updated so they are easier to understand. Microsoft stresses that the essential content of the documents will not change, just the way it is presented, and the language in which it is written. Covering products as diverse as Bing, Cortana, Microsoft accounts, OneDrive, Outlook.com, Skype and Xbox Live, this is Microsoft latest bid to be more transparent to customers.

Rather than using confusing terms, Microsoft's new documents are clear and "don't require a law degree to read". The aim is not just to make agreement and statements easier for users to understand, but also to earn the trust of more people. Introducing the changes, Microsot's Horacio Gutiérrez reveals how this will be noticeable:

Simplicity: These changes bring together a number of previously separate – and often repetitive – documents to make it easier for customers to find and understand the information. Instead of agreeing to separate terms and statements for each service, customers who use more than one Microsoft service will be able to accept once for multiple services and review one privacy statement. Transparency: Although we’ve simplified and consolidated the terms and policies, we didn’t want to over-simplify, either. We want to give consumers meaningful information about how we collect and use personal data. Thus, the privacy statement still provides the service-level details our customers need in order to understand the privacy implications of the services they use. Privacy: These statements reiterate what we’ve said in the past: We don’t use customer communications to serve targeted ads to customers and we are committed to putting customers in control of their information.

The changes will be implemented before two months is up, so you can expect to receive a series of emails from Microsoft relating to the various services you use.

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