Google Tells Users It Scans Their Email As Microsoft Puts “Scroogled” To Bed

gmail inbox tabs Google updated its terms of service (TOS) yesterday to make more explicit the fact that it scans Gmail for the purpose of matching email content with ads. The relevant part of the updated TOS reads: Our automated systems analyze your content (including emails) to provide you personally relevant product features, such as customized search results, tailored advertising, and spam and malware detection. This analysis occurs as the content is sent, received, and when it is stored. Google has been sued for the practice as an alleged violation of the Federal Wiretap Act. The case survived Google' [...]

Microsoft Calls For International Conference On Government Surveillance

online privacy Last week President Obama announced reforms to curb NSA domestic spying abuses. There was a range of reactions but many critics contend he didn't go far enough. The proposed reforms also probably don't help the tech industry very much. Perhaps feeling let down or skeptical that the US reforms will change much Microsoft's General Counsel Brad Smith is calling for an international conference on data privacy and government surveillance: While there is no substitute for American leadership and action on these issues, the time has come for a broader international discussion. We need an int [...]

Microsoft’s Latest Scroogled Target: Google’s “Gspam” Ads That Look Like Email

gspam Microsoft has taken another shot at Google today with the latest push in its ongoing "Scroogled" campaign. This one? Another attack on Gmail. Or, as Microsoft is calling it today, "Gspam." That's the term they're using for those ads that look like emails in Gmail (which, last I recall hearing, was still a limited Google test). From today's update on Consumers should be able to trust their email provider to protect them from spam, but Google is doing just the opposite. Rather than protect you from spam, Google is reading your private email conversations and using what they fi [...]

Google, Facebook In Transparency Battle Over PRISM Disclosures

online privacy Last night, what might be called a "transparency battle" erupted between Google and Facebook following Facebook's disclosure of government-related user-data requests: For the six months ending December 31, 2012, the total number of user-data requests Facebook received from any and all government entities in the U.S. (including local, state, and federal, and including criminal and national security-related requests) – was between 9,000 and 10,000. These requests run the gamut – from things like a local sheriff trying to find a missing child, to a federal marshal tracking a fugitive, to a p [...]

Scope of Alleged Spying On Americans’ Internet Activity Massive, “Beyond Orwellian”

privacy-security-online-computer It turns out that for the past roughly 6 years, the US government has been "collecting" or "mining" US citizens' personal data and communications from telcos and Internet companies -- effectively "spying" on US citizens. Those data, it has been alleged, come in large part from direct access to the servers of most of the Internet's biggest brands: Google, Apple, Microsoft, Facebook, Yahoo, AOL and others. (Dropbox was apparently cited in leaked documents as “coming soon.”) These bombshell disclosures follow yesterday's discovery that the US government was collecting Verizon telephon [...]

Study: Millennials More Comfortable Sharing Personal Data For Targeted Ads & Relevant Offers

personal-data-privacy-featured A recent survey conducted by the USC Annenberg Center for Digital Future and Bovitz Inc., revealed "Millennials" (those 18-35)  have a different attitude than Internet users 35 years and older when it comes to sharing their personal data online with businesses. While 70 percent of Millennials agreed with the statement, "No one should ever be allowed to have access to my personal data," 56 percent said they would share their location with a nearby company in return for a relevant coupon or promotional deal. Only 42 percent of users 35 years and older agreed they would share their location. [...]

Microsoft’s “Scroogled” Campaign Against Gmail Wins 0.002% Of Users

Scroogled It's been a week since Microsoft went on the attack against Gmail, launching its "Scroogled" campaign portraying Gmail as a privacy monster that reads your emails for ad targeting purposes. How's that been working out? To date, the Microsoft-backed petition against Gmail's practices has gained about over 6,000 signatures -- equal to about 0.002% of Gmail's user base. The Petition To Nowhere At the Scroogled site, Microsoft invites people to sign an online petition. In the week it has been up, it's gathered about 5,600 signatures: That's hardly an overwhelming response, especially consider [...]

EU Takes 10 Days To Question Google Privacy Change; After Two Months, Finally Looks At Microsoft’s

online privacy Two months after Microsoft introduced the same type privacy policy changes that Google did, and was attacked by the European Union over, the EU is finally getting around to questioning the Microsoft move. Microsoft's change happened on October 19. It was announced with little notice to consumers. Despite allowing for cross-platform sharing in the way privacy changes at Google allowed earlier this year, it attracted virtually no press attention nor that of regulators. In contrast, Google's change drew heavy attention the day it was announced and which continued on. Ten days after the anno [...]

Microsoft To Make Same Privacy Change Google Was Attacked For; No One Seems To Care

logo-lg-1x Earlier this year, Google announced a privacy policy change that was widely covered by tech blogs, the mainstream press and which generated much governmental concern. Last month, Microsoft announced the same type of change. That generated little reaction. Either Microsoft's change deserved the same scrutiny from all the same parties that examined Google so closely or Google got unfairly attacked. This is a long article, so let me say from the start that I don't think consumers need to fear either the change Google did or the one that Microsoft will implement later this month. You can jump [...]

Google: “Impractical” To Comply With IE’s P3P Privacy Controls; Microsoft, Facebook & Others Also Fail

microsoft-google-logos Google's been taking fire for Microsoft accusing it of overriding Internet Explorer privacy controls. But Google's now out with a response: the controls are out-dated, "impractical" to follow and ignored by other companies besides Google, including Facebook, some of Microsoft's own sites and over 10,000 others. I'm on vacation this week, so I won't be doing a deep dive into all of this, though someone else from Marketing Land will in the near future. For now, I'll just share a few short comments along with the full statement that Google sent us about the issue. Not The Same As The Safari B [...]

Microsoft: Google Is Bypassing Internet Explorer Privacy Settings, Too

microsoft-google-logos More trouble for Google today on the privacy front: Just days after revelations that Google is ignoring privacy settings on Apple's Safari web browser, Microsoft says Google is doing the same thing with Internet Explorer. Microsoft shares its findings in a blog post this morning: When the IE team heard that Google had bypassed user privacy settings on Safari, we asked ourselves a simple question: is Google circumventing the privacy preferences of Internet Explorer users too? We’ve discovered the answer is yes: Google is employing similar methods to get around the default privacy protecti [...]

No, You Don’t Need To Fear The Google Privacy Changes: A Reality Check

fear-computer-keyboard-featured Less than a month to go before Google's new privacy policy changes happen. Microsoft is running an ad campaign encouraging switching to its services as safer or more private. The US Congress is still asking questions. Headlines have painted a worrisome picture. But Google's users seem largely unconcerned. That's no surprise. They probably shouldn't be. There's a big difference between a privacy policy that grants new rights and actually using those rights. That's what I tried to explain in my first article about Google's forthcoming changes. There are good reasons why the mess that Googl [...]

Google “Myth Busts” Microsoft’s Privacy Claims

google-g-logo That didn't take long. Google has reacted to Microsoft's ad campaign that slams Google's forthcoming privacy policy changes with a mythbusting blog post. Here's a look at the myths Google says are out there, the facts it claims are true and my own fact checking of both Google and Microsoft. Short story? They both seem about the same on the privacy front. The Google post actually tackles a few allegations beyond those that Microsoft made today, but I'll focus on the Microsoft ones. Hard To Control Personal Information? Google wrote: Myth: Google’s Privacy Policy changes make it harder [...]

Microsoft Slams Google Privacy Changes With “Putting People First” Ad Campaign

campaign Last September, Google CEO Larry Page warned Google's biggest threat was Google itself. His words are ringing true, as Google arch-nemesis Microsoft is seizing on Google's recent missteps to score some points through a newspaper ad campaign that pitches Microsoft's products as treating customers better than Google's do. The ads -- running in the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times and USA Today -- suggest that Google's forthcoming privacy policy changes are designed to put Google's interests over that of its customers. A related blog post also indirectly raises issues about Google's ne [...]

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