Microsoft's free cloud-based storage service SkyDrive hopes to snag millions of new users when the new Windows 8 and Windows 8 phone are launched this Autumn. SkyDrive wants to serve as your go-to cloud storage file host, allowing you to access your personal photos, documents, and videos from anywhere. Microsoft is making it clear, though, that your SkyDrive storage cannot be used for the thing so many web surfers use the internet for -- porn files and video clips.
Some SkyDrive users are finding out the hard way that hardcore porn will really screw your Skydrive account -- shutting it down, along with your Outlook email account, your MS Office software, and any Windows apps that you've legitimately purchased.
Sean Ludwig at VentureBeat took a long, hard look at Skydrive's restrictions on uploading porn, and found Microsoft has the most obscenely restrictive obscenity restrictions of all the big cloud storage hosts. These restrictions are worth paying attention to, because Microsoft will suspend your account with no advance notice.
Losing your digital porn stash would be the least of your worries. "If Microsoft suspends your SkyDrive," VentureBeat notes, "you also lose access to any connected Outlook or Office software or Windows Phone and Xbox 360 devices. This incredibly strict code of conduct could end up cutting off other services you depend on."
So how strict is "incredibly strict"? Profanity is prohibited. Any form of nudity is specifically prohibited, and even if it's just a drawing. The Windows Live code of conduct prohibits nudity even in "non-human forms such as cartoons, fantasy art or manga." These images are prohibited even in private folders.
Yes, cloud storage hosts do look at the files you keep on their servers. They should, too, because these companies can be on the hook if you're using their service to distribute child pornography or to organize violent crimes.
The VentureBeat analysis looked into the policies of the other big cloud storage services. The popular Google Drive file host does allow for uploading legal porn, but also carries the same risk of SkyDrive -- one false move, and you could lose access to your email and other integrated Google services. VentureBeat recommended DropBox and SugarSync, both of whom offer no restrictions on your uploaded content. The only restrictions on SugarSync relate to sharing or distributing obscene material , and DropBox's policy is just "don't break the law."
Also remember -- SkyDrive and Google Drive both prohibit any material obtained through copyright infringement. So most of your porn would break that rule as well.