Another important question: Can the service access or share the information without due cause? Some privacy clauses gives firms the right to look at data because they have suspicion or volition without any legal requirements to do so.
"It's one thing to share information in response to a legal request from a government agency, that's the law," says Shah. "But it's another thing to take a look because the company feels like it on their own volition."
Microsoft recently updated their policy following public scrutiny for accessing a customer's email account in an information leak investigation. Taking the high road, Microsoft will now wait on law enforcement before accessing user information. Apple, Google and Yahoo still retain the right to search emails on their volition. Instagram also maintains the right to voluntarily access user information.
Becca Lipman is Senior Editor for Wall Street & Technology. She writes in-depth news articles with a focus on big data and compliance in the capital markets. She regularly meets with information technology leaders and innovators and writes about cloud computing, datacenters, ... View Full Bio