Microsoft targets Gmail privacy

Microsoft targets Gmail privacy

Microsoft said it was running a national campaign and asked users to sign a petition

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Microsoft has launched a campaign in the US that targets Google's alleged practice of going through the contents of all Gmail messages to sell and target advertisements, raising again an old issue the Redmond, Washington, software giant has with the free email service.

The company late Wednesday cited a study which showed that 70 percent of consumers don't know that major email providers routinely engage in the practice of reading through their personal email to sell ads.

Some 88 percent of people disapprove of the practice once they are informed, according to a GfK Roper study commissioned by Microsoft.

Unlike Gmail, Microsoft's doesn't go through the content of users' emails to show ads, it said.

The "Don't Get Scroogled by Gmail" campaign on Microsoft's promotes as an alternative to Gmail. Microsoft previewed in July and said it would eventually replace its Hotmail email service.

Advertising keeps Google and many of the websites and services the company offers free of charge, Google said in an emailed statement on Wednesday.

"No humans read your email or Google Account information in order to show you advertisements or related information. An automated algorithm - similar to that used for features like Priority Inbox or spam filtering - determines which ads are shown," it added. is also calling on consumers to join a petition drive on to tell Google to stop going through their users' email to sell ads, Microsoft said.

Microsoft sponsored Don't Get Scroogled activities will appear online and offline, demonstrating why consumers should be concerned, and helping them take action, Microsoft said.

"This campaign is as much about protecting users from Gmail as it is about making sure Gmail users know what Google's doing," said Stefan Weitz, senior director of online services at Microsoft, in a statement.

The company has been critical of a settlement in January between the US Federal Trade Commission and Google over the search giant's business practices and access to its standards-essential patents, calling it a "missed opportunity."



  • Scott Lebold This is pure diversion - Microsoft is guilty of bigger privacy sins MSFTs LookOutcom may not go through the content of users emails to show ads but they DO go through the email addresses of senders to LookOut users in order to append and display data from other sources like Facebook and Twitter This in the name of enriching the customer experienceProblem here is that senders arent customers and have no idea Microsoft is betraying their true identities and have no control over itLookOut users see in their webmail interface the email senders FacebookTwitter profile images full proper names and even hyperlinks to senders FB profile Senders identities are revealed regardless of which email service they use not just Hotmail Yes recipients can turn off display of this extra info but the true identities of senders are systematically revealed and the damage is done There is evidence that Microsoft retains this extra append information UnbelievableMicrosoft lives in a glass house and should not throw stones
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