Just a couple of days after an ex-Microsoft employee was arrested by the FBI for stealing and leaking copies of Windows 8, the software giant is caught up in a privacy storm after it admitted that it searched through an unknown French blogger's Hotmail/Outlook inbox to crack the identity of the perpetrators.

The revelation has left Microsoft red-faced because it has condemned Google for the same reasons in the past. The company last year launched a Scroogled campaign that mocked Gmail's privacy. Microsoft, however, says that the examination was legal because the company's privacy policy gives it the right to access private information stored on its communication services, to protect the property of the company or its customers.

In the case, Microsoft accused former employee Alex Kibkalo of leaking the Windows 8 source code to a French blogger, prior to its release. While investigating the case, the company snooped on the blogger's Hotmail emails and instant messages, and found that he did receive confidential information from Kibkalo.

Soon after the revelation, Microsoft released a statement saying that the company would take several new steps to reassure users that their communications will be private.

According to Microsoft vice president and deputy general counsel John E. Frank, in the future, if Microsoft has any evidence of wrongdoing against it, the company will submit that evidence to an outside lawyer who is a former judge, and would conduct a search of private communications only if the judge concluded there was enough evidence to meet the standards for a court order.