Microsoft wants you to know that Google reads your love letters

Microsoft has been releasing a series of “Scroogled” videos that bemoan Google’s services and how they invade your privacy. Not to miss out on the Valentine’s day holiday, Microsoft has released another video in the series.

This latest video attacks Google for reading your love letters as they are delivered to the recipients. This is an obvious attack at how Google skims your email to serve up advertisements based on the context of the email.

Microsoft wants you to know that Outlook.com does not do such things and lets your private messages be, well, private.

While we do not know how effective these advertisements are at getting users to leave Google services for Microsoft, the campaign is more about showing Google’s true intentions when they offer up their free services.

Source: Scroogled

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Going to repost this here, because people really don't get that Google admits to retaining data, and admits to allowing your data to be accessed by employees in a human readable form that can be easily queried.

This is an old article that I have in my favorite, but read it carefully and realize that beyond the 'data mining' Google doesn't lock down or encrypt your information on GMail, GDocs or any of their services and employees look up your 'profile' that has even your Google Map location logs and read them at any time and use them.

(Google also uses your information in wide net trend scanning of your inbox and GDrive and GDocs even AFTER your email has been initially data mined. Google also scans and reads the email you send to other people and any email they forward on that might go to or be copied to a GMail user's address.)

GCreep: Google Engineer Stalked Teens, Spied on Chats (Updated)
http://gawker.com/5637234/

-This story was in PCMag and a few other places at the time back in 2010, and it is not an isolated incident; however, it is one of the few that made it past the Google 'hush' machine and got public attention.

Microsoft must be annoyed that its petition to Google backfired, they wanted 25,00 signatures which is tiny by internet terms, they got 4500...

abysal said,
Doesn't Microsoft do the same to your private data stored on it's sky drive service?

The expectancy of privacy on a cloud storage service is much lower (especially when it's spelled out in the terms of service).. doubly-so with the antipiracy gestapo going in full force. Private mail on the other hand should be exactly that. Private.

Max Norris said,

The expectancy of privacy on a cloud storage service is much lower (especially when it's spelled out in the terms of service).. doubly-so with the antipiracy gestapo going in full force. Private mail on the other hand should be exactly that. Private.

I dunno if i pay for cloud storage i expect privacy as much as i expect it for my mails. I really don't see why i should accept lower privacy for paid cloud storage than free mail service. The only good reason would be lower privacy standard as people started to use mail when the privacy standard was WAY higher than it is today.

LaP said,
I dunno if i pay for cloud storage i expect privacy as much as i expect it for my mails.

Still boils down to reading the terms of service, never mind just because you're paying for it should you expect 100% privacy on a storage site.. unreasonable expectation. File dump sites are not the same as electronic mail, no matter what you paid for it.

Max Norris said,

Still boils down to reading the terms of service, never mind just because you're paying for it should you expect 100% privacy on a storage site.. unreasonable expectation. File dump sites are not the same as electronic mail, no matter what you paid for it.

What should be mandatory, and for any company, is to have "terms of service" written in a way to be comprehensible without a lawyer; nowadays they are written with the opposite goal in mind: obfuscate....
Furthermore it is time that any contract should include, in bold and as separated paragraphs all the parts that can be considered "vessatory terms" and require customers to specifically sign them.

abysal said,
Doesn't Microsoft do the same to your private data stored on it's sky drive service?

No...

They don't read it, they don't take or store information, and they do not allow your information to be accessed by queries or employees or used in any way.

So, no, not even close to what Google does...

abysal said,
Really?

http://wmpoweruser.com/microso...censoring-skydrive-uploads/

This seems exactly like the type of automated scanning Google is doing, probably even worse. Also I don't think either MS or Google have any actual people looking over your stuff, although regarding the link above I'm not so sure.

The point he's making is that the automated services don't mine the data and make profiles about individuals. Those profiles are sometimes sold to 3rd world countries (there are reports of them moving to African governments) but are also accessible by Google engineers and there have been many people brought to court over the privacy concerns yet Google haven't changed anything. Yes Microsoft, Yahoo, AOL whatever all do automated spam scanning etc but they do not RETAIN that information with a user's ID for "use" later on. As thenetavenger also mentioned there are pretty well founded suspicions that Google (and it employers) read through emails and keywords of high profile members of Governments, economic/financial institutions and of course celebrities to get the latest "news" and lets face it if you were a low paid Google engineer with the possibility of accessing data from financial firms that could turn your 80K salary into a 800K investment there are plenty of people that would abuse their power.

Google bitches and moans about Windows/IE and Microsoft does the same thing about Gmail - It's a fair game I guess?

BajiRav said,
Google bitches and moans about Windows/IE and Microsoft does the same thing about Gmail - It's a fair game I guess?

Windows and IE doesn't report, keep, use or store your personal information for Microsoft's gain.

All (yes ALL) of Google's services and products do keep, use and store your personal information for Google's gain.

I like Google's response to these negative compaings and tht Google is ignoring MS and not fighting back.

Advertising keeps Google and many of the websites and services Google offers free of charge. We work hard to make sure that ads are safe, unobtrusive and relevant. 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.

http://marketingland.com/micro...st-scroogled-campaign-32813

techbeck said,
I like Google's response to these negative compaings and tht Google is ignoring MS and not fighting back.


http://marketingland.com/micro...st-scroogled-campaign-32813


No humans read it? But why are they storing all your data plain text easy accessable for their employees with no strict terms of violation when going through user data?

I know most of my data at MS is stored encrypted. At a level that made the US government and intelligence agencies cry because they couldn't break it.
Oh and the only way (although I'm sure MS has a masterkey or similar) to access this data is by providing it with MY password.

Shadowzz said,

No humans read it? But why are they storing all your data plain text easy accessable for their employees with no strict terms of violation when going through user data?

I know most of my data at MS is stored encrypted. At a level that made the US government and intelligence agencies cry because they couldn't break it.
Oh and the only way (although I'm sure MS has a masterkey or similar) to access this data is by providing it with MY password.

Where does it state that google stores the info in plain text? Not saying that you are wrong, but something I may have missed.

thanks

Here from the one article I have bookmarked on this laptop...

GCreep: Google Engineer Stalked Teens, Spied on Chats
http://gawker.com/5637234/

From the Article...

"If you're an SRE, for instance, on Gmail, you will have access to mailboxes because you may have to look into the databases," the former Google SRE - who did not work with Barksdale - explained to us by phone.

Google's response...

That said, a limited number of people will always need to access these systems if we are to operate them properly-which is why we take any breach so seriously." -Bill Coughran, Senior Vice President, Engineering, Google


This is one of the more 'publically' known, since it got exposed and followed up on, to the point Google FINALLY fired the employee. Yet, they still maintain it is necessary for their employees to have 'readable' access to user data.

thenetavenger said,
Here from the one article I have bookmarked on this laptop...

GCreep: Google Engineer Stalked Teens, Spied on Chats
http://gawker.com/5637234/

From the Article...

I wasnt questioning that this happened. I was curious on where it states that the info is stored in plain text.

Yet they scan and look at your skydrive photos specifically for your nude photos and your chikldren photos

they should be hanged

FoxieFoxie said,
Yet they scan and look at your skydrive photos specifically for your nude photos and your chikldren photos

they should be hanged


Automated systems, with the techniques MS has, its easy to find such imagery with automated systems.

Also this data is not stored for future purposes.
And any data MS uses from you for advertisement purposes, is anonymized.
They making your usage information anonymous (not tied to your account, its stored separate from your account/profile) and the limited amount of information they drag from you. Makes me feel comfortable when using MS services for the time being.
If MS will change this for the worse, i'll go look for a new provider of services, or go back to self hosting (live domains is awesome and free)

KSib said,
What's funny is that sky drive scans your pictures.

Only as required by LAW.

You realize that if you had a customer uploading kiddie porn...

Never mind, you probably wouldn't get it if I had crayons and talked to you like a 1st grader.

(PS -For others reading - None of the machine 'only' reading of 'images' is stored or retained or used. Google KEEPS information from everything it scans, which is a BIG difference.)

gameboy1977 said,
Google is really evil! I see some ads on gmail, so I stopped using that evil gmail. I will stick with outlook email.

Because there's no ads on hotmail.

bigmehdi said,

Because there's no ads on hotmail.

I think he was being sarcastic. Anyway i hope ...

All big companies are sort of evil. It depends on your political and social point of view i guess. Google is no different.

I can understand why people who used Google products many years ago because it was the small good guy might not want to use google products now. But pretending you use MS products instead of Google products because MS is the lesser of two evils is just silly. There's many small and good options out there needing support from people who don't want to use big guys products.

bigmehdi said,

Because there's no ads on hotmail.

I have never received ads in my Hotmail/Outlook account. It's fast, clean and secure. Contrary to gmail, tooks time to load, ads in top right bottom and inside the emails! Hmm.. maybe you get ads in Outlook beacuse your online soul is already corrupted by google nasty spyware... u_u

bigmehdi said,

Because there's no ads on hotmail.

If your reading or typing an email, you will not see ads (only other promoted MS services/products occasionally). But 3rd party advertisements are NOT being displayed while typing or reading an email. This to prevent any form of abuse from advertisers.

These are so bad. Whats the difference between scanning email for ads and scanning email to combat spam? Microsoft is shooting itself in the foot here.

There's quite a large difference. Spam doesn't keep a record of what it says etc. The ads leave a trail of what kinds of markets you have been targeted for. Now they can build a profile about you. There's a huge difference.

russianmonk said,
There's quite a large difference. Spam doesn't keep a record of what it says etc. The ads leave a trail of what kinds of markets you have been targeted for. Now they can build a profile about you. There's a huge difference.

Quote from Google...

Advertising keeps Google and many of the websites and services Google offers free of charge. We work hard to make sure that ads are safe, unobtrusive and relevant. 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.

russianmonk said,
Spam doesn't keep a record of what it says etc.

How can you be sure about that? If you are at all concerned about a copy of your emails being saved somewhere I wouldn't recommend using any email service including Gmail and Outlook.com that you don't host yourself. You have no idea about what's going on in the backend.

contriver87 said,

How can you be sure about that? If you are at all concerned about a copy of your emails being saved somewhere I wouldn't recommend using any email service including Gmail and Outlook.com that you don't host yourself. You have no idea about what's going on in the backend.

Because Microsoft is not in a position to mess this fight up.
They don't do as they say and the whole world will be right on it, flaming and ranting.
In their fight with Google for internet dominace, MS cannot drop the ball on this or they will lose. I'm quite sure they know it.
And for this reason for now, I went with Microsoft and stopped using several Google services.
Google can get away with far to much IMHO. Where as the opposite is true for Microsoft.

Shadowzz said,
[...]

You're naive if you think that all your deleted emails wouldn't suddenly show up if Microsoft got a subpoena for your email account. Everyone keeps copies.

Bleedorang3 said,
These are so bad. Whats the difference between scanning email for ads and scanning email to combat spam? Microsoft is shooting itself in the foot here.

How about just this ONE thing...

After Google 'mines' the email, it 'stores' keywords and a summary that is tracked and linked to YOUR profile and habits based on your use of Android, Chrome, and Google initiated searches.

At any time a Google engineer level employee can directly query your profile, that contains all your email summaries, GDoc content, keywords, searches, locations of where you have been using Google Maps, and even phone numbers of your family and relatives that were called on an Android device or shared through your email account.

Microsoft 'scans' the email for SPAM, and then NEVER stores anything obtained from the 'Spam' rating that is assigned to the email. Once the email is sitting in your Hotmail/outlook inbox, it is NO LONGER readable by Microsoft or any Microsoft employee, even if they wanted to, and there is no log or 'stored' information from the SPAM scan to even reference anything about the email. Using the Microsoft Account GUID it is encrypted, and then additionally database and media level encrypted. So if a Microsoft employee wanted to read the 'summary' or find out anything in your email, it would take them SEVERAL BILLION years just to crack the initial encryption.

I know this may seem like rocket science, but Google isn't just rating SPAM potential and then storing the email in a secure encrypted manner. They are data mining/keeping notes, a log, and a summary of all your email and it is NOT even stored in an encrypted manner, so that Google's employees can literally find your inbox and READ IT, even after the mail was 'data mined' and stored'.

Go look up what few stories have made the press, where Google had to fire employees for abusing access to GMail, GDocs, GVoice, etc. And these are just the ones that were escalated to criminal charges to ever be publically disclosed outside Google.

Even after the bigger ones made news, Google continues to issue statements that all user (YOUR) stored data must remain HUMAN READABLE by Google Employees.

Evey email provider has a way to access your emails. Email providers have been subpoenaed by courts before and had to retrieve emails. Just because a few Google employees abused their power doesnt mean this is common practice at Google. Google is just a target because a few of their people got caught abusing the system. The same thing could/can happen to other email providers and it very may have happened or is happening. Just because someone doesnt get caught doesnt mean they are not guilty of doing the same thing.

Until Outlook.com updates some basic features I am sticking to GMail. EG I still can't add a custom image for a contact and still I'm being redirected to the awful hotmail style calendar. Seeing shared calendars on my phone would be nice too.

Microsoft, shutup really. all this mud slinging does not make people want to buy your stuff. Google DOES NOT read your emails and if anyone thinks they do, they are delusional. There is a BIG different between having a bot look for keywords and having it read your whole email.

Microsoft...the way for more customers is not through fear. It is buy producing good products which people want to buy.

techbeck said,
There is a BIG different between having a bot look for keywords and having it read your whole email.

No it isn't actually. If I wanted to construct a personality profile on you, mining through a database full of those keywords would be sufficient.

AWilliams87 said,

No it isn't actually. If I wanted to construct a personality profile on you, mining through a database full of those keywords would be sufficient.

Google searches emails for keywords to tailor ads to the individual. That is it. They are not logging personal/sensitive info to be used later. MS is trying to fool users by fear to use their products. I, for one, am not fooled by it.

techbeck said,

Google searches emails for keywords to tailor ads to the individual. That is it. They are not logging personal/sensitive info to be used later. MS is trying to fool users by fear to use their products. I, for one, am not fooled by it.


Uh they somehow do. A few days ago I noticed that my Google account had this information based on "my usage of google services"

Male, Age 25-34 : both are accurate portrayal of me and I never entered my birth date in any Google product. So FWIW, they do more than just tailor ads.

techbeck said,

Google searches emails for keywords to tailor ads to the individual. That is it. They are not logging personal/sensitive info to be used later. MS is trying to fool users by fear to use their products. I, for one, am not fooled by it.

Personal data being stored doesn't matter. With a large enough sample size (I.e. users and keywords), a simple regression analysis could be conducted on that data to discover whole sorts of things. Couple that with other information being collected by Google via their other products, I could probably learn things about you that you don't even know yet. I could figure out your race, sex, age, whether you're gay or not, the likelihood of you living to age 65, ect.

techbeck said,

Google searches emails for keywords to tailor ads to the individual. That is it. They are not logging personal/sensitive info to be used later. MS is trying to fool users by fear to use their products. I, for one, am not fooled by it.

Although it would be nice if your 'beliefs' were accurate; however, back in reality, Google DOES retain information obtained from your email, and it is used for OTHER purposes than just targeted advertising.

Even services that Google plays coy about what they read and don't read like GVoice, is all logged, tracked, KEPT, and able to be queried by Google employees at ANY TIME. (Google has fired pedophiles for using GVoice transcripts and logs in an attempt to blackmail teenagers into sex. Even with the 'firing' Google STILL MAINTAINED that it was NECESSARY to keep all their user data, and to keep it human accessible and readable by Google employees.)

As for GMail, the profile it creates for YOU is linked to all your browsing activity and searches and even your location using location aware services in Chrome and on Android, so that Google literally has more information on you than if you were being spied on by the CIA.

Using the Google profile and data, they can tailor advertising, and SELL information to governments that request information on their residents where information is not protected by a modern judicial system. (They have literally sold data to countries in Africa that has been used to track down and kill residents that fled the country.)

So, even if you only believe that Google is just creating a 'profile' of you based on your email content, your location, and searches - you still do realize that it is all human accessible and directly linked to you, not a semi-anonymous MAC or IP address. Which also means that ANY Google employee that can initiate a query of their data, can literally pull up everything Google knows about you, from your tastes in men/women and food and travel location to where you live and a transcript summary of your emails and your GVoice transcripts and GVoice chat logs and all the locations you have been since you started using Android or Chrome away from home?

Right, you are smart enough to at least get that the data even if not actively used, IS AVAILABLE and HUMAN readable by Google and their employees.

There is a reason Google has made a ton of money and there is also a reason they have made a lot of 'investments' based on inside information that was 'mined' from 'priority' email accounts, aka Senators, CEOs, etc. Not all of Google's return or investment is just reported through Google, as independent companies that have no privacy obligations that are under the Google umbrella, never have to say how they got their information nor how they were able to short supplies in China on an upcoming product or dump stocks based on a 'hunch' they obtained from private corporate discussions in private Gmail accounts or stored in GDocs.

Shoving your head in the sand, truly doesn't make the pillaging of personal information not happen. There was a time that even asking you what your favorite soft drink was cost money to obtain and was a 'general' poll, not a direct line to your favorite soda at 10am and 3pm on Tuesday and when you changed to another brand on Friday at 2am.


Even services that Google plays coy about what they read and don't read like GVoice, is all logged, tracked, KEPT, and able to be queried by Google employees at ANY TIME. (Google has fired pedophiles for using GVoice transcripts and logs in an attempt to blackmail teenagers into sex. Even with the 'firing' Google STILL MAINTAINED that it was NECESSARY to keep all their user data, and to keep it human accessible and readable by Google employees.)

MS keeps emails, Yahoo keeps emails...everyone does. And all companies have access your emails. Dont lump a few bad employees and put them with Google as a whole. Place I used to work at a couple people were accused and arrested for doing a Nigerian scam. Should we blame the whole company and accuse the whole company of doing the same thing?

Just because companies like MS doesnt activly scan your email for keywords/advertising...does not mean they do not have the ability to read your emails. And who knows if MS employees have been reading emails, or if Yahoo employees have not been doing the same thing. Just because it has not been reported, doesnt mean it isnt happen or has not happened. They may just not have been caught.

But my point is that MS claims, or insinuates, that there are actually real employees reading GMAILs on a regular basis. Which is inaccurate. MS is coming off as being desperate and this kind of negative campaigning doesnt work and is not what people want to see.

And before anyone else says anything, I would rag on Google about the same thing if the situation was reverse.

techbeck said,

MS keeps emails, Yahoo keeps emails...everyone does. And all companies have access your emails. Dont lump a few bad employees and put them with Google as a whole. Place I used to work at a couple people were accused and arrested for doing a Nigerian scam. Should we blame the whole company and accuse the whole company of doing the same thing?

Just because companies like MS doesnt activly scan your email for keywords/advertising...does not mean they do not have the ability to read your emails. And who knows if MS employees have been reading emails, or if Yahoo employees have not been doing the same thing. Just because it has not been reported, doesnt mean it isnt happen or has not happened. They may just not have been caught.

But my point is that MS claims, or insinuates, that there are actually real employees reading GMAILs on a regular basis. Which is inaccurate. MS is coming off as being desperate and this kind of negative campaigning doesnt work and is not what people want to see.

And before anyone else says anything, I would rag on Google about the same thing if the situation was reverse.

How and when did Microsoft "insinuate" that "real employees" are the ones reading the emails? Even if humans weren't looking at those keywords directly, which is most likely the case, so what? Those keywords are stored in a data warehouse which any human can see anyway. You don't need to keep information about the entire email to construct a proper profile.

The discussion started with you stating that storing keywords is not as bad as "having" them "read your whole email." All we're trying to say here is that is still vital information. Microsoft and Yahoo storing emails does not change that.

AWilliams87 said,

The discussion started with you stating that storing keywords is not as bad as "having" them "read your whole email.&quot

Nope, did not say that. I said that no one at Google is sitting down and reading your emails just because they can. Bad employees aside, Google doesnt do this like MS claims they do.

techbeck said,

Nope, did not say that. I said that no one at Google is sitting down and reading your emails just because they can. Bad employees aside, Google doesnt do this like MS claims they do.

You (techbeck) originally said this,
Google DOES NOT read your emails and if anyone thinks they do, they are delusional. There is a BIG different between having a bot look for keywords and having it read your whole email.

This is what I originally replied to. You're basically implying that storing keywords for analysis by bots isn't as bad as having it read your entire email. I am saying that it doesn't matter... Enough information about a person can be mined by those keywords alone.

Also, nothing Microsoft claimed is technically factually inaccurate. By the way, I have no problem with Google mining my own email. Others would, and that's cool. Google does offer this as an apt in correct?

Hum said,

It is if you are a farmer.

have you ever been a farmer? slinging dirt does nothing but make you look busy... you need some nice ripe ... well yea...

Although I'm glad someone tries to make people aware of Google's tactics and ways.
I was a fan of Google until recent years. They lost their original goal and meaning a long time ago. And i'm strongly under the impression that Google needs to be pulled out of their clouds, as what happened to MS a decade ago. And hopefully settle Google to become a proper technology giant.

But I don't think MS is the right company to do so, they have way to much bias against them.

I agree. I don't side with either company, but these adverts make me think that Microsoft are attacking Google because they don't have any features that separate them from the competition.

theyarecomingforyou said,
Yawn. If Microsoft is trying to destroy its own reputation then it's doing a great job.

I agree, never been a fan of destructive advertisement. although I don't like Google's privacy policy terms.

i agree although this one specifically makes me more microsoft with emails cause i enjoy my privacy ... apart from that though I dont care more or less for either of them ... they are both a large part of my life and i love them both <3

I'm fine with what MS are doing. I'm sick of hearing family members complaining about "f***ing evil Microsoft" spying on them because they're getting specific ads on sites they visit, ads that have to do with things they have been talking about and viewing. When in reality it's all Google.

Outlook.com is better anyway, and the SkyDrive + Office integration is very useful. Happy i left Gmail.

1Pixel said,
I'm fine with what MS are doing. I'm sick of hearing family members complaining about "f***ing evil Microsoft" spying on them because they're getting specific ads on sites they visit, ads that have to do with things they have been talking about and viewing. When in reality it's all Google.

Outlook.com is better anyway, and the SkyDrive + Office integration is very useful. Happy i left Gmail.

Yeah. With MS, they only look at your porn...