Microsoft’s account suspensions and the OneDrive ‘nude’ photos

[German]Users of a Microsoft account – needed for Microsoft services or in Windows 10 – may facing a strange behaviro. Their Microsoft account may be suspended without a warning for life time. One reason could be OneDrive  content, that violates Microsoft’s terms of service. A photo of the bathing children can cause your Microsoft account to be suspended – for lifetime – and you’ll be digitally exist no more.


Advertising

I’m taking up the topic of ‘blocking Microsoft accounts’ again, which has been bogged down here in the blog for quite some time. The background is that I am coordinating with my Windows Insicer MVP colleague Martin Geuß on this issue.

Problem: Microsoft account suddenly blocked

Whoever acquires a (free) Microsoft account for Windows 10, OneDrive, OneNote, Skype, Office, Teams etc. in a private environment is taking a risk. Martin Geuß and myself have discovered that Microsoft can block such an account for life at any time and without warning. And this is no joke, it happens – since 2019 we have collected over 40 cases. I have it picked up in my blog post Stop: Arbitrary blocking of Microsoft Accounts . A user facing this block, no longer exists.

OneDrive content is actively scanned

Martin and I are driven by the question why Microsoft seems to block accounts arbitrarily? The users affected didn’t get a reason why the account has been shut down. But I had mentioned in my old blog post Stop: Arbitrary blocking of Microsoft Accounts VPN accesses as one reason. The second reason for a block might be content on OneDrive. Martin Geuß noticed that people affected had uploaded large amounts of photos to their OneDrive before the sudden block. Now it has long been known that Microsoft scans the OneDrive contents for corresponding material, which the company believes is illegal or undesirable.

Martin Geuß has therefore taken up this topic again and links to his German article at Dr. Windows in the tweet above. Martin explicitly refers to Section 3 (Code of Conduct.) of the Microsoft Service Agreement, which every owner of a Microsoft account accepts when setting up a Microsoft account:


Advertising

 iv. Don’t publicly display or use the Services to share inappropriate content or material (involving, for example, nudity, bestiality, pornography, offensive language, graphic violence, or criminal activity).

This rubber paragraph is of course wonderful to apply to OneDrive content. Topless photos or children without nappies, with naked bodies (in the bathtub, playing games etc.), which are not objectionable in Germany, were banned in the USA – and the account suspension follows.

The problem is that you don’t even have to actively upload such pictures to OneDrive as a user – you could control such things. Microsoft or the developers create apps like the OneDrive client in such a way that it automatically takes care of files on the hard drive and synchronizes them with the OneDrive storage. Then it’s not long before photos from WhatsApp groups or the like are synchronized with OneDrive. Martin goes into more detail here and writes that the AI for evaluating files and pictures works similarly with Dropbox, Google, Microsoft etc.

Long speech short conclusion: Leave your photos out of the cloud – and I would go even further and say: Do without the cloud and Microsoft accounts – which is what this article is all about. I’m also thinking of Microsoft teams or other services, where photos may be exchanged with third parties, which are then checked by AI and may lead to account suspension.


Cookies helps to fund this blog: Cookie settings
Advertising


This entry was posted in Cloud, issue, Windows and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Microsoft’s account suspensions and the OneDrive ‘nude’ photos

  1. Chris Pugson says:

    Make sure that OneDrive startup is disabled in the Windows 10 Task Manager. I don’t use it but why add OneDrive to the resource load? BornCity has now given me a very strong reason to disable OneDrive.

  2. Thilo Langbein says:

    Are business accounts storage also scanned/blocked?

  3. Braam says:

    Good day
    My account was also blocked for no reason and now I have no access to any of my photos that was moved to onedrive account. How can I recover the photos and unlink from this account.
    I have send numerous mails to them with no response.
    Thank you

  4. Advertising

  5. ken says:

    I know the feeling I did pay for one drive 1TB just to backup my photo before I was formating my computer. what I didn’t think was going to be a problem is that I have a naked pitcher of both my children when they were born and few pitchers when they are running naked in the summer playing in the pool.
    my main problem is that I didn’t take another backup of the photo before I did format my pc.. 1 week later I got blocked from all my accounts and lost around 9 years’ worth of my children’s pitcher. Microsoft says I won’t get anything back and that I never will get to use anything from them. even my Xbox did they block. if you want to take care of photo just buy an extra HDD. for me personally I think Microsoft should inform better

    • guenni says:

      FYI: Here in Germany I’ve had the feedback from an affected user, that support granted him access for a week allowing him to pull his material from OneDrive.

      There is also a plain tiff ongoing against Microsoft Germany, to find out by a judge, whether Microsoft has the right to block a user from downloading his material. But I don’t know the current state.

  6. Sergey says:

    Yes they’re
    My business account has been blocked and I have no more acess to One Drive with no more explanations from MS support just with note: “(sic!) SOME rules seems haven’t been met” or like this with no details which rules etc. Ther’re ONLY pdf dwg and doc files strored as the account exactly for work and shared among others

  7. SRW says:

    I’ve been racking my brains for the last 24 hours on why my MS account has been closed down entirely without any prior warning. I discovered this thread and have realised it is because this week I transferred around 250GB’s of historical family pictures. A very, very small number of photo’s would have included my children in a state of undress whilst bathing. I find it repulsive that somebody at MS has decided MY family pictures are of a sexual nature, but also that MS are indirectly accusing me of harbouring child pornography. I shall be objecting to this as strongly as I possibly can, what an awful, awful thing to be accused of from behind a corporate cloak.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *