ergophobe - 5:41 pm on Feb 8, 2013 (gmt 0)
Then you should be concerned about Google which has a cozy relationship with the NSA
Don't get me wrong - I'm concerned about both.
@celgins: do you really think MSFT isn't cozy with the US government agencies such as the NSA ?
Not to answer for celgins, but this isn't really implied by his comment. He's addressing my statement, not the MS versus Google question. The fact is, as we have learned, most phone companies, large ISPs and companies like Google and MS cooperate with the NSA, sometimes in a reasonable fashion and often not (as we found in the suits against the big telecoms). Every American company is covered under the PATRIOT Act and that act trumps the European protections such as the Data Protection Act and Safe Harbour provisions.
U.S. law enforcement could use the USA PATRIOT Act on a U.S.-based organisation -- like Microsoft, Google, Intel or Amazon, for example -- to force its local subsidiary companies across the world into handing over user data to U.S. authorities.
EU data once may have 'had to stay in Europe', but this is on the most part untrue. The Safe Harbor framework, designed to protect EU data in the United States, protects merely the transfer of data from Europe to U.S. soil. But as soon as it arrived on U.S. soil, Safe Harbor can be superseded by America's counter-terrorism law.
I find it "low" from MSFT to do this. But we've come to expect that from them, playing dirty is their style.
Microsoft is pointing out is that Google is mining your e-mail to sell their advertisements
Bill, if they held themselves to that simple statement I would say you're more or less right. That said, it's like one fast food chain criticizing another for having, say, preservatives in the fries. It may be true, but it's not like the other chain's food, other than the fries, is preservative-free or good for you.
In essence, the "facts" of the allegations are no different from what the Electronic Privacy Information Center ( [epic.org...] ) has to say. However, after exiting Chrome because the videos would not play on Chrome (oh the irony) and reading the sidebar quotes, I have to say I agree with Swa that this is "low". The way Microsoft presents this is sensationalist and they imply, without saying so, that there is this terrible invasion of privacy by letting a bot scan the emails between my wife and I for keywords. They clearly want people to believe that somehow private conversations between my wife and I could end up getting read by an actual person and they want people to feel uneasy about this. And yet it is WAY less likely for an actual person to read my email due to a Google employee doing so than due to a corporate IT person at my wife's company or an NSA agent doing so.
Google takes privacy very seriously, and your trust is important to us. Gmail users should know:
If I read this correctly, they do not guarantee that no humans read email messages, only that they do not read them for the purpose of targeting ads. Google needs to say something like "unless required by law, such as in the case of a subpoena, search warrant or invocation of the PATRIOT Act, no human will read any GMail messages for any purpose whatsoever". It would be nice to see that clarification result from this MS attack.
Now, EPIC contends that it's actually worse that a computer is reading my email, because a computer can scan an unlimited number of emails and retain all the information, but that I think is a separate debate.
Not irrelevant here is the pot calling the kettle black aspect. MS pretends they do not scan my email for keywords, even though they do.
How do I know that Hotmail and Outlook and every other service scan my email? Because they all have spam filters and those spam filters work in part by scanning my email for keywords! The difference is that they do not mine those keywords to sell me targeted ads. Their campaign implies that MS does not scan my emails at all and that is a lie!
There are legitimate concerns here, but the Scroogled website really upsets me for the distortions, sensationalism and pot-calling-the-kettle-black tactics (compare to the EPIC website which, actually surfaces far more facts/concerns about Google, but does so in a more factual, neutral tone). Furthermore, even if Google had iron-clad agreements, it doesn't mean that its system for collecting your personal data couldn't be accessed by Chinese hackers (as it was in 2009 0 - src: [siliconvalleywatcher.com...] ). So even if you trust Google, there are troubling implications of having that much data held by one company.
Unlike Swa, I no longer expect MS to play dirty. They've generally taken a fairly high (albeit often hamhanded) approach since getting slapped in the anti-trust suits. The companies I see leveraging near-monopoly positions these days are Google, Facebook, Apple and Amazon. But here I see a troubling resurgence of the "old Microsoft" that will bend the truth and stop at nothing to hurt a competitor, including distorting facts in a way that hurts consumers. Yes, Google will push right up to the "creepy line" without going over, but I see MS here as pushing right up to the "lying line" without going over.