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Allow Windows Live ID users to change their billing country information

European consumers who register with certain services (Zune Marketplace, Xbox Live and the Windows Phone Marketplace) are unable to change their country of residence in their service accounts if they relocate.

Microsoft says this issue exists because of licensing restrictions imposed on them by copyright holders; e.g. for Zune media, such as music and movies, that can only be licensed in certain countries. It is therefore not permitted for consumers to be able to change their country of residence. 

They recommend consumers create an additional Windows Live ID and use it to create a new service account to work around this limitation.

Consumers cannot delete their existing account without first also deleting the Windows Live ID that is linked to that account. They are very unwilling to take this step, since their Windows Live ID is used to access more than just Microsoft’s online stores. All their online information that’s important to them is under that existing Windows Live ID. It is the key to their online identity in social networks. Consumers will no longer be able to control this information, nor maintain their identity, if their old Windows Live ID is deleted.

Consumers therefore end up with multiple identities, multiple service accounts, and having to juggle information between them.

Meanwhile, the original service account lives on, and this now holds inaccurate data.

Since the consumer, or even Microsoft apparently, is unable to rectify this inaccurate data, Microsoft would seem to be in contravention of European Directive 95/46/EC, Article 12(b), which states:

“Member States shall guarantee every data subject (that’s the EU consumer) the right to obtain from the controller (that’s Microsoft): as appropriate the rectification, erasure or blocking of data the processing of which does not comply with the provisions of this Directive, in particular because of the incomplete or inaccurate nature of the data (our emphases)

So long as the account exists, it will contain inaccurate data – the country of residence – and therefore Microsoft does not comply with the provisions of the Directive.

We are asking Microsoft to give consideration to introducing the ability to delete a service account completely, without forcing consumers to also delete their Windows Live ID. That way, consumers can preserve their Windows Live ID and create a new service account with the correct country of residence. It would also have the effect of bringing Microsoft back into compliance with the provisions of EU Directive 95/46/EC.

More information on this issue, together with other resources, can be found at the It Is Our Data web site (


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