Microsoft is Farming your Photos and Personal Information with How-old.net

No doubt you’ve already seen friends sharing screenshots of the Microsoft powered website how-old.net on your Facebook newsfeed. Within hours of its release it had gone viral, which is mildly unusual as it’s not a new idea by any means. Despite it being absolutely appalling at guessing people’s age it’s been a hit.

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But did you read the fine print? Tucked away several paragraphs down in the Terms of Use is this long sentence.

However, by posting, uploading, inputting, providing, or submitting your Submission, you are granting Microsoft, its affiliated companies, and necessary sublicensees permission to use your Submission in connection with the operation of their Internet businesses (including, without limitation, all Microsoft services), including, without limitation, the license rights to: copy, distribute, transmit, publicly display, publicly perform, reproduce, edit, translate, and reformat your Submission; to publish your name in connection with your Submission; and to sublicense such rights to any supplier of the Website Services.

That’s right, Microsoft is sneakily farming the information and photographs you’re submitting for its own commercial use and once submitted there’s nothing you can do about it.

The unsuspecting user pictured above was unaware of this particular clause and has already expressed annoyance in not having read the small print in full. We’ve come to put a lot of trust in these large organisations yet they still insist in grabbing as much data possible from every one of us.

I’ve not tried personally but apparently you can remove your images from how-old.net and revoke the rights you’ve handed over:

The licenses granted in the preceding sentences for an Image will terminate at the time you completely remove such Image from the Website Services, provided that such termination shall not affect any licenses granted in connection with the Image prior to your complete removal of the same. No compensation will be paid with respect to the use of any such Images.

If you’re affected by this and quite rightly annoyed, please drop us a line with details and how easy it was to remove your likeness from the site.

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2 thoughts on “Microsoft is Farming your Photos and Personal Information with How-old.net

  1. madmoo May 2, 2015 / 2:00 pm

    Well that’s me in the pic and I like to think I look younger than 68. I tried it again with a different photo taken at the same time from a different angle and got an age of 39. For the record, I’m 56. I thought it was just a bit of fun but I’ll be attempting to remove my image and will let you know if it’s an easy process. (And thank you for asking my permission to use the above example. That’s the right way to do things!)

    Like

  2. James Johnston May 2, 2015 / 2:29 pm

    I already have a microsoft account (and google/apple/facebook/twitter) which gives them my age EXACTLY. And my address, email, date of birth, credit card numbers etc. That account has the exact same clause in it. I sincerely doubt this app’s purpose is to farm data, they already have much better ways of doing it. The simple fact is if you don’t want to have you details used by corporations, stay off the internet.

    Like

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