Over on Microsoft’s OneDrive blog, they announce that they’re ending unlimited storage. People are upset[1], but I think they’re missing a larger issue.

The OneDrive team states that the reason for these changes is people are using too much unlimited storage[2]. They go on to state some of these users are doing things that are ‘extreme’: “…users backed up numerous PCs and stored entire movie collections and DVR recordings”.

How do they know what users have backed up?

Obviously they have the technical capability to look into customer accounts, but under what conditions is Microsoft allowed to do so? And even if allowed, under what conditions should Microsoft do so?

There is the possibility they reached out to customers and asked permission before looking through their personal files, but that seems unlikely.

Most cloud backup services allow you to use a private key (or a password that essentially acts as one). I’ve always thought this a bit over the top, but I see the allure if service providers will arbitrarily inspect accounts like this. This does not appear to be an option, at least on the consumer OneDrive product.

I was very irritated in Windows 10 how integrated OneDrive was, and how difficult it was to remove[3]. It was automatically there, running, hiding in the system tray and sending information to Microsoft without telling me. It also seemed easy to accidentally use it, which worried me.

I’m very glad I never stored any files on OneDrive, clearly they are not very concerned about the privacy of their customers.


[1] The new quotas are quite low. 1TB is not a ton of space for backup if you take a lot of high resolution photos or video. My BackBlaze backup is 1.2TB, and I would not consider myself an extreme user.

[2] Maybe have your marketing teams talk to the technical teams before creating packages.

[3] Or impossible? I gave up and it is still running on my PC.