Watchdog declines to probe Microsoft

WASHINGTON (AP) — A watchdog organization financed partly by Microsoft Corp. to monitor how Internet sites protect consumer privacy has decided not to audit the company, one of its biggest benefactors, over a controversial glitch in its software. Trust-E of Palo Alto, Calif., instead chided Microsoft over its use of an identifying number that could be used to trace the authors of some electronic documents even when they want to remain anonymous. The group said Microsoft’s uses of the number “compromise consumer trust and privacy.” But Trust-E said it will take no further action as an online guardian because the dispute involved Microsoft’s commercial software, not the company’s Internet site.

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