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MS Targets Google With Another Smear Campaign

Soulskill posted about 2 years ago | from the you-can-trust-us dept.

Google 513

walterbyrd writes with news that Microsoft's PR department has started a campaign to convince Gmail users that Google reads your personal emails, referring to Google's automated method of scanning emails for keywords to generate supposedly relevant advertising. "The gist of the scare campaign is that Google is a scary, scary company that reads your private emails in order to send you targeted ads. 'Even if you don't use Gmail, if you send email to someone who does, Google goes through those emails to generate advertising revenue too,' Microsoft warns in material sent to reporters. Oh, and Microsoft points out that six class-action lawsuits have been filed against Google over this issue, and asks people to sign a petition 'to tell Google to stop going through your personal email messages.'"

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Saw an ad on ABC last night with my wife (2)

SteveDorries (1313401) | about 2 years ago | (#42832859)

They had the tagline of 'Don't get scroogled' then directed the viewer to go to outlook.com The production values were atrocious.

Re:Saw an ad on ABC last night with my wife (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42833029)

Use the GMail "Basic" option instead of their "standard" option. You lose some features, but gain some privacy.

Re:Saw an ad on ABC last night with my wife (4, Interesting)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | about 2 years ago | (#42833403)

It's supposed to look that way. Some people will think it's more legitimate if it doesn't look like a big money production. Like it's coming from the little guy and not a competing mega corporation.

Re:Saw an ad on ABC last night with my wife (-1, Troll)

Frosty Piss (770223) | about 2 years ago | (#42833421)

Way to go with the "fanboy" bullshit. Quite sad, really...

Speaking of "Smear Campaigns"... (4, Insightful)

Frosty Piss (770223) | about 2 years ago | (#42832865)

Is it a "Smear Campaign" if it's true?

Pretty "slanted" summary, but I guess this is Slashdot and the story is about Microsoft.

Now, who's more evil? Google or Microsoft? Hard to tell around here sometimes...

Re:Speaking of "Smear Campaigns"... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42832999)

agreed.

Google DOES read your email, and we learned from the Patreus affair that access to that email is handed over without a warrant as well.

Are we living in a police state yet?

Re:Speaking of "Smear Campaigns"... (5, Informative)

Qwavel (733416) | about 2 years ago | (#42833319)

> Google DOES read your email, and we learned from the Patreus affair that access to that email is handed over without a warrant as well.
> Are we living in a police state yet?

Equating the two is about as disingenuous as the MS campaign, and painting Google as the state patsy in comparison to MS is equally dishonest.

First, showing contextual ads based on e-mails and handing over e-mails to the state have nothing to do with each other. MS hands over e-mails to - the only difference is that they don't fight against it.

Google fighting against state censorship in China and against invasion of privacy in the U.S. probably doesn't go far enough for you, but MS doesn't fight against them at all. In fact, when Google was fighting China, MS say it as an opportunity to gain some market share by agreeing to do the stuff that Google was fighting.

Re:Speaking of "Smear Campaigns"... (3, Insightful)

somersault (912633) | about 2 years ago | (#42833005)

I'd rather non-invasive and targeted ads, than the annoying (and presumably irrelevant if MS aren't being hypocritical here) animated ones that you got on MSN, and now get on Skype.

Re:Speaking of "Smear Campaigns"... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42833165)

Why would you want ads when reading your email at all? This seems to be horrible mental gymnastics to try to maintain "Google good!" fanboism.

Re:Speaking of "Smear Campaigns"... (3, Insightful)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | about 2 years ago | (#42833229)

Yeah, it's funny how people will apparently put thought into the question "given the choice, would you rather we cut off your arm or cut off your leg?" without considering that perhaps a third option is infinitely preferable.

Re:Speaking of "Smear Campaigns"... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42833359)

Yes, and I'm sure Sophie [wikipedia.org] would have loved to say "let both my children live". Unfortunately, that was not an option.

Re:Speaking of "Smear Campaigns"... (2)

somersault (912633) | about 2 years ago | (#42833389)

Well, as I run adblock I don't actually get any anywhere - I'm just saying that Google are IMO much better than MS when it comes to advertising.

Re:Speaking of "Smear Campaigns"... (1)

bhagwad (1426855) | about 2 years ago | (#42833429)

Because I like free email?

Kinda obvious no?

Re:Speaking of "Smear Campaigns"... (2)

tehcyder (746570) | about 2 years ago | (#42833383)

I'd rather non-invasive and targeted ads

I wouldn't. Seriously. Say your wife has a chat while you're reading your email and the ads are full of requests from hot teenage cam girls to get jiggy with them, it's much easier if you can just call it general spam.

Re:Speaking of "Smear Campaigns"... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42833055)

Yes it can be a smear campaign, even if it is true. For example: 'Bill Gates can't stand eating cats with Ketchup!' would be a smear campaign and is (probably) completely true. (This is assuming Gates doesn't actually eat cats but what do I know?)

As for who is more evil - Microsoft. They subjected the world to windows ME, windows Vista and now Windows 8. And lets not forget 'clippy' or any of the other 'helpful' features Microsoft has added.

As for the subject at hand - there is a huge difference between computationally scanning an email for keywords and reading an email.

And MSOOXML (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42833117)

Don't forget that.

Re:And MSOOXML (1)

SteveDorries (1313401) | about 2 years ago | (#42833339)

Could you or someone else that is in the know elaborate?

Re:Speaking of "Smear Campaigns"... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42833399)

Yes it can be a smear campaign, even if it is true. For example: 'Bill Gates can't stand eating cats with Ketchup!' would be a smear campaign and is (probably) completely true. (This is assuming Gates doesn't actually eat cats but what do I know?)

"The Other White Meat" Also, "It tastes like chicken it tastes just like chicken!"

Re:Speaking of "Smear Campaigns"... (5, Funny)

crazyjj (2598719) | about 2 years ago | (#42833063)

Now, who's more evil? Google or Microsoft?

Apple

Re:Speaking of "Smear Campaigns"... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42833347)

Microsoft is annoying as hell with bing and their pub + they ARE actually MICROSOFT... so much evil stories from their beginning to today...
Google with ads targettings is annoying as hell, logs all sites your accessing to using it's ads service and yeah, I'm pretty sure they "read" emails for statistical and ads purposes...
Apple, it's a different story : they wanna full control over anything, but still annoying as hell...

I guess it's not only Google, Microsoft or Apple, but all of them equally ;)

Re:Speaking of "Smear Campaigns"... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42833395)

Now, who's more evil? Google or Microsoft?

Apple

And Hitler. Mustn't forget Hitler.

Re:Speaking of "Smear Campaigns"... (5, Informative)

Guest Blogger (2836413) | about 2 years ago | (#42833069)

Is it a "Smear Campaign" if it's true?

That's a big "if." In this case it isn't true: "Reading" implies a "person reading your email." Google parses email to place ads. But so what? So does Microsoft and every other Email provider on earth. They may be parsing it for a different reason, but they are doing the exact same thing. If parsing is "reading" then you'd have a point. But it isn't, so you don't. Parsing != to Reading. Or, to put it another way: If Google is "reading your email" at Gmail so is Microsoft at Office 365 Online, because all spam protection services parse email and microsoft advertises their Office 365 service as including excellent "Microsoft Forefront" security.

A Smear Campaign Is a Smear Campaign (5, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | about 2 years ago | (#42833079)

Is it a "Smear Campaign" if it's true?

Well, it's not entirely true. I think most people consider the definition of reading to mean "looked" at [wiktionary.org] and that it is implicitly a human that is reading your e-mail in this case. The eyes superimposed in the first video imply this. What's actually happening is that your e-mail is being loaded into memory and parsed to build an index associated with some key that is associated with you and that is being stored. This data is then used to serve targeted ads. Do you really think that a person is involved at any point so far? Do you really think there's a Google employee looking over raw table data and rubbing one out when he sees that "ky jelly" is associated with user 57234765235 at a rate of 0.0054% of the time with a high precision value? Really? Show me a mail service provider that neither loads your e-mail into memory (alias "reads" it) nor stores it in a database and I'll show you extraterrestrial beings.

Pretty "slanted" summary, but I guess this is Slashdot and the story is about Microsoft.

Really? Where are Google's commercials of equal proportions? I guarantee you they would make for a story just like this.

Now, who's more evil? Google or Microsoft? Hard to tell around here sometimes...

Just because one evil is smearing another evil of less, equal or greater proportions doesn't make it not a smear campaign! This is exactly what it is! Disingenuous advertising meant to unduly spread uncertainty and deceit! How does Microsoft detect spam? The same damn way!

Re:Speaking of "Smear Campaigns"... (4, Informative)

leuk_he (194174) | about 2 years ago | (#42833091)

MS reads everything on your sky-net drive. Supposenly to their fair use rules. However if there is something bad on them you loose your account. (even if that that data is never shared)

Now who is evil....

Re: Speaking of "Smear Campaigns"... (1)

cyber-vandal (148830) | about 2 years ago | (#42833469)

L O S E!!! FFS it's not that complicated!

Re:Speaking of "Smear Campaigns"... (3, Insightful)

squiggleslash (241428) | about 2 years ago | (#42833127)

Is it a "Smear Campaign" if it's true?

It can be if it presents something in a negative light that's technically true on one level, but not in the sense that readers will think.

The way the campaign will be interpreted is that your privacy is being breached by the people of Google who are reading (not automatically processing) your emails. The reality is that an algorithm is used by a non-sentient computer to determine relevent ads to show you.

I, in common with most people I guess, really don't give two hoots about the latter. Indeed, as I've said before, if ads are going to be foisted on me, I'd rather see ads for Android phones and S&M equipment than for women's shoes and motorcycle insurance. And I care about how Google determines the former are more suited than the latter and the privacy controls it implements to prevent such data falling into the wrong hands, not the fact that Google figures it out in the first place.

Re:Speaking of "Smear Campaigns"... (1)

fermion (181285) | about 2 years ago | (#42833179)

Pretty much any free email service can and should be assumed to read emails. Most of it is going to be automated scanning for ads or other data mining, but there is no presumption that your email is private. Fortunately most of us are not important enough to actually read by a human, but that does not mean so bored grunt is not going to randomly read email. I am sure that there are policies to discourage this, but whether there is actually any consequences we really don't know. We know the terms of service allow it.

So I am not sure how any MS online service is different. I don't think MS is going to fight to keep you email private when law enforcement shows up. We know the MS will not tell us who is listening to our Skype calls, even when we pay to make them.

I think the ad is fair because Google is a ad service that provides end user tools to collect data on said end users. MS is becoming such a thing, but still primarily actually sells products to end users, so, unlike Google, the end user is to a greater degree the customer and therefore more likely to drive corporate decisions.

Re:Speaking of "Smear Campaigns"... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42833185)

Does anyone know you have the ability to turn target add's off & problem solved.

I guess that does not make good news.

It IS a smear campaign... (1, Insightful)

mschaffer (97223) | about 2 years ago | (#42833233)

It IS a smear campaign. Tech Crunch and Read Write are trying to smear Microsoft for pointing out the truth.

Re:Speaking of "Smear Campaigns"... (1)

poetmatt (793785) | about 2 years ago | (#42833263)

yeah? Let me know how that fairsearch campaign is working out for Microsoft. You know, google is evil blah blah.

Also remind me how people respond to hotmail selling your information to anyone and everyone, including signing you up for spam mail. While google does do advertising, they don't sign you up for product spam.

Re:Speaking of "Smear Campaigns"... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42833265)

Well, it's no different than Hotmail, which puts all of your emails into a DATABASE! OMG!!!!

Encrypt your e-mails (1, Funny)

vik (17857) | about 2 years ago | (#42833369)

The inevitable next step by Kim Dotcom's Mega.co.nz's completely encrypted file sharing is completely encrypted messaging. When that takes off, Google's evil practice of not encrypting mail will be left for dust. They're going to lose a lot of customers unless they decide to jump first. Which, as you can see, will lose them more revenue.

Re:Speaking of "Smear Campaigns"... (1)

smartin (942) | about 2 years ago | (#42833443)

Microsoft. Just because they are no longer relevant does not make them any less evil or forgive them for their past crimes. This campaign is just another example of how they really, really don't get it. If they could make a decent product for once, maybe they could get some new market share instead of just sitting and watching their monopoly dwindle away.

Where's the lie? (4, Interesting)

hessian (467078) | about 2 years ago | (#42832879)

Google does scan your emails for keywords. That information may be stored or revealed in any number of ways.

What I'd like from MSFT: a guarantee (legal contract) that MSFT will not do the same on the new Outlook.com.

It's Quite Disingenuous (5, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | about 2 years ago | (#42832943)

Google does scan your emails for keywords. That information may be stored or revealed in any number of ways.

I think it's more than a bit disingenuous because the video has this person's eyes superimposed over your e-mail while mischievous music plays in the background. We all know that it's not a person reading the e-mails, it's software doing latent semantic indexing or some such algorithm.

They might not be lying but they are deceiving. Tell me how my Hotmail knows how to classify incoming e-mails as spam again? OH! You're running a Bayesian classification algorithm and building word statistics out of my e-mail?! They're reading my e-mails! Cue judging eyeballs over my e-mail with corny music.

Note: I'm not defending Google but I'm pretty sure that some type of software runs some sort of algorithm on your e-mails if you go through any reputable major e-mail provider. Hell, my debian postfix server is attached to a bunch of algorithmic open source programs to do just that!

You Are Quite Disingenuous (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42833071)

Does your automated scanning and classification collect detailed statistics about conversation and subject matters to be used in a virtual dossier of all of your activities across the entire internet? The answer is obviously not.

But, we know well that this is EXACTLY what Google is doing. That it is automated is, to me even more scary than a person watching. That it's only used for ads(today), is annoying. That it could and likely will be used for God knows what in the future is the real disturbing bit.

Re:You Are Quite Disingenuous (1)

Qwavel (733416) | about 2 years ago | (#42833377)

But who isn't doing that? These companies all collect information about users in order to judge which ads to show them.

You've used scary words, like 'dossier', and tried to give human meaning to the activity with words like 'conversation', but you are still just describing the business of the ads on the Internet.

Re:It's Quite Disingenuous (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42833149)

There's nothing disingenuous about it. Unless you know a great deal about Google's internals, you have *no way* of knowing what they do with the data. It's invaluable for ad profiling, but the ability to selectively preserve the original data and review it, at will, is invaluable for warranted and warrant-free governmental investigation.

Worse: because most people who use Google and especially GMail treat it as an enormous archive of their personal, fiscal, and business email, they often have the old email stored in their old folders, in their "Sent" folder, and in their Trash forlder to extents they never even realized. Coupled with the "social" tools of Google+ and the documents of GoogleDrive or GoogleDocs and GoogleCalendar, it's an enormous amount of personal data with little guarantee of privacy beyond Google's "do no evil" policy. This doesn't mean they *are* doing it, but it certainly means that any black hat working for Google would have tremendous power to do evil, and it bears serious thought and careful legal review for all social network tools.

Re:It's Quite Disingenuous (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42833243)

the ability to selectively preserve the original data and review it, at will, is invaluable for warranted and warrant-free governmental investigation.

Seriously, only a fool would use Hotmail.

Re:It's Quite Disingenuous (1)

0xdeadbeef (28836) | about 2 years ago | (#42833171)

Note: I'm not defending Google

But you are, and you are because they have done nothing wrong, while Microsoft is acting like a politician in a mudslinging campaign. It's ok, brining logic to the table does not make you a fanboy.

Re:It's Quite Disingenuous (2)

bws111 (1216812) | about 2 years ago | (#42833201)

The big difference between scanning for spam and scanning to place ads is that scanning for spam benefits me, and scanning for ads is for Google's benefit.

Re:It's Quite Disingenuous (2)

MDMurphy (208495) | about 2 years ago | (#42833451)

Scanning for ads pays for the service. Ad-Supported. Scanning for ads means you get an email service, for free. Spam filtering, for free. You get multi-gigabytes of storage, for free. So how in the heck can any Gmail user say it benefits Google and not them also?

It's legitimate for a non Gmail user to say that having their mail scanned isn't isn't worth the value of the email service. If you do have Gmail, you made the deal and you can leave any time if not happy with what you perceive as value you get for them scanning your mail.

Re:It's Quite Disingenuous (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42833207)

Your post is disingenuous in precisely the same manner that you're accusing Microsoft of being, regarding Google. Your Bayesian filters do not perform any type of scanning and profile building approaching the level that Google does. Attempting to compare spam filtering with web tracking is pretty shady.

Re:It's Quite Disingenuous (2)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | about 2 years ago | (#42833323)

I think it's more than a bit disingenuous because the video has this person's eyes superimposed over your e-mail while mischievous music plays in the background. We all know that it's not a person reading the e-mails, it's software doing latent semantic indexing or some such algorithm.

Do you really believe that Google NEVER assigns a human set of eyes to review emails - even when they're trying to better tune their ad-targeting algorithms?

Re:It's Quite Disingenuous (2)

ILongForDarkness (1134931) | about 2 years ago | (#42833353)

I mostly agree with you but I'd imagine when tuning their algorithms, ie all the time, they have to look at individual emails and see if a manual person would come to the same conclusion that their bot does. They might just test it with their own corporate mail, or have some sort of anonymizing layer that processes the messages first but at some level any mail service will have a IT guy looking at actual messages occasionally. When you are running a separate business process off of the mail you have more reason to need to read emails.

I worked for an antispam vendor and we occasionally (few times a week per developer) had to track down a blacklisting problem which ultimately meant we read the headers and body of the message, did reverse lookups of the senders, pulled mx records from the registries etc. But this is all customer initiated and for their benefit: they want their mail or got spam they didn't think they should have vs us as a vendor reading the mail for our own benefit.

Exactly. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42832959)

Sure, it's a scare campaign. But, all they are doing is pointing out the facts, that we've long known, to the masses.

I've got lots of throw away Google accounts. But, I don't consistently use GMail or any other Google services for the very reasons that they point out and more. Likewise the POS that is Facebook.

They do, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42833025)

Google does scan your emails for keywords. That information may be stored or revealed in any number of ways.

Google requires that labor conditions for the outsourced workers be upgraded to modern sweatshop levels, just like Apple.

You would actually trust a promise from McRsft, would you? It's not like Privacy Policies are written to be broken...

Re:Where's the lie? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42833039)

Yes, but this was announced from the very first day that GMail was launched.

And, moreover, what the hell is your guarantee that any other mail service isn't looking through your e-mail, with human beings or automated scripts or a combination of both? If you want your e-mail to be private, that's what encryption is for.

Re:Where's the lie? (1)

Guest Blogger (2836413) | about 2 years ago | (#42833109)

Google does scan your emails for keywords. That information may be stored or revealed in any number of ways.

"Where's the lie?" Seriously? Microsoft accuses them of "reading your email." They are not reading your email: They are parsing it for keywords and phrases, something Microsoft themselves do. If Google is "reading your email" then so is Microsoft. ...And Microsoft stores those keywords that could be revealed "in any number of ways" too. For that matter, they also store your messages on an Exchange server, which is one of the many "number of ways" the entire message might get compromised.

Re:Where's the lie? (1)

rs1n (1867908) | about 2 years ago | (#42833121)

Google does scan your emails for keywords. That information may be stored or revealed in any number of ways.

What I'd like from MSFT: a guarantee (legal contract) that MSFT will not do the same on the new Outlook.com.

The funny thing is, MSFT seems to be guilty of the same. Check out: http://investigativerep.blogspot.com/2013/02/microsoft-bing-botched-runs-google.html [blogspot.com]

Re:Where's the lie? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42833133)

The lie is the association of the common-usage verb "read" with "what the machine does". It's a completely different thing. When an email reaches your inbox, it has traversed several machines, which had to "read" it (in a way) to transfer it. The point (which Microsoft PR conveniently omits) is that when a *machine* reads an email, it's not the same as when a human does it.

It's like saying that the phone data center "listens to" your telephonic conversations simply because it reads and writes the sound data.

What I'd like from MSFT (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42833223)

Google does scan your emails for keywords. That information may be stored or revealed in any number of ways.

What I'd like from MSFT: a guarantee (legal contract) that MSFT will not do the same on the new Outlook.com.

What I would like from MSFT is client side encryption of all the email stored on Outlook.com and Skydrive for that matter. And, of course, if I set a PGP Public Key (or S/Mime public key) all e-mail sent to me gets encrypted right after the anti-spam/anti-mailware tools run and before it get stored on their servers.

Re:Where's the lie? (1)

Sarten-X (1102295) | about 2 years ago | (#42833227)

What I'd like from MSFT: a guarantee (legal contract) that MSFT will not do the same on the new Outlook.com.

What I'd like from GOOG: a guarantee (legal contract) that GOOG will continue to read my email to improve the spam filtering I so greatly enjoy, and (statistically) improve advertising revenue so I can get that spam-filtering email service free of charge.

Re:Where's the lie? (1)

ILongForDarkness (1134931) | about 2 years ago | (#42833271)

Outlook.com is pretty slick too. For all the gmail users out there worth getting a burner account just to give it a try. I still use gmail as my primary and outlook as my burner but for better or worse MS did a great job giving the Win 8 look and feel to a webmail solution.

It is a matter of business model I think: MS makes money by selling software. Google makes money by selling ads. Both will do whatever steers you towards their profit centres: Google is much more heavily benefited by having detailed info about you, MS not so much they are pretty confident that you'll either want to or will have to use their software.

Re:Where's the lie? (1)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | about 2 years ago | (#42833387)

http://privacy.microsoft.com/en-us/default.mspx [microsoft.com]

I laughed when I read that. Its linked to in the bottom right hand corner of scroogled.com

Basically it says...

Uses of Information
Additional Details
        We use the information we collect to provide the services you request. Our services may include the display of personalized content and advertising.

Re:Where's the lie? (1)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | about 2 years ago | (#42833449)

It doesn't do it for the same reason. They'll both happily sift through your email for the gov.

Truth (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42832891)

The best kind of propaganda is true, and that's what this is. Obviously Microsoft neglects to tell you about all of their invasions of your privacy, but that doesn't make Google's any less true.

Microsoft's solution to the problem? (4, Funny)

QuietLagoon (813062) | about 2 years ago | (#42832893)

Simple --- sign up with Microsoft's email service so that Microsoft can rummage through your emails instead of google.

Re:Microsoft's solution to the problem? (4, Informative)

dkleinsc (563838) | about 2 years ago | (#42832995)

This is just a subset of the basic rule: If a for-profit company is going to a lot of trouble to provide you a free service, the service is not the product, you are the product. Some examples: broadcast media, social networks, and hosted email.

Re:Microsoft's solution to the problem? (1)

SteveDorries (1313401) | about 2 years ago | (#42833031)

A plus 2 troll? How did that happen

pathetic... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42832903)

if MS wants to win, they should instead focus on creating a better user experience.

Email encryption (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42832913)

Can everybody please start now?

I left.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42832917)

i signed up only to find out they don't have two-factor authentication. I won't be logging back in again.

Re:I left.... (3, Informative)

Dr_Barnowl (709838) | about 2 years ago | (#42833279)

Gmail does have two-factor authentication. You can even do it with an app and not have to purchase a dongle.

Unlike Microsoft... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42832939)

Unlike Microsoft which produces an Operating System that reads all of the data on your hard drive.

I use neither Gmail nor Hotmail. (3, Informative)

John Hasler (414242) | about 2 years ago | (#42832957)

If I did, though, I would of course assume that everything sent via those services was pretty much public (not that anyone would care). But then, unencrypted email is never confidential anyway.

...so? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42832969)

Doesn't Microsoft do the /exact same thing/ with Bing/Hotmail?
Not saying it's not wrong, but pot, kettle.

Nothing Here... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42832985)

While I admit that the allegations are essentially true, Microsoft is just bothered that it didn't come up with the idea first. No one should conflate Microsoft's criticism as an endorsement of Microsoft's concern for users.

tee hee (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42833049)

He said conflate....

No kiddin' (1, Interesting)

war4peace (1628283) | about 2 years ago | (#42832987)

Whenever I use an e-mail service I don't fully own, I assume someone else will eventually read my messages. Frankly, nothing I send out is sensitive or important, or something that can't indirectly be obtained through third party sources.
Maybe I'm weird, but I listen to my gut feeling that tells me Google is more trustworthy than Microsoft.
So. My work e-mail can be read by my employer (I know that for a fact) and is automatically scanned for sensitive words, especially if I send e-mails to external addresses. My personal e-mail is automatically scanned by Google. I say, let them do it, I'm trying hard to determine if there was any message I sent or received that would piss me off when read. And yes, I'm a very light message sender, my Google account activity report for last month shows 7 sent messages, up 40% compared to previous month. One was a reply to a virus link sent by a contact, telling him he has a virus. Two were responses to career opportunities, telling them "I reject your proposal". Three were responses in a conversation with my son's doctor, about his treatment, and one was a cancellation of an online order. Big deal.

Re:No kiddin' (1)

alphatel (1450715) | about 2 years ago | (#42833247)

There's an implied trust with your own domain and email service, but people who have their domains forwarded to gmail accounts aren't quite as transparent. So if some business thinks "hey this is secure because it's to joe@xyzcompany.com" they would have no clue that it's a free account hosted by google, which is scanning the content via gmail. So any implied trust of one email service or another is absolutely bunk at this point for the end user. Only a tech would be able to decipher whether you have a real email server or third party hosted account.

Re:No kiddin' (1)

cptgrudge (177113) | about 2 years ago | (#42833367)

Maybe I'm weird, but I listen to my gut feeling that tells me Google is more trustworthy than Microsoft.

That would be the Stockholm Syndrome [wikipedia.org] . It's cool, I like Google, too.

Re:No kiddin' (2)

Inda (580031) | about 2 years ago | (#42833427)

Yep, none of it matters.

Between this PC and Google's servers, there sit 11 other 'computers'. The first 6 belong to my ISP. The last 5 Google.

That's 11 I have no control over.

Read away, my anonymous computers, read away.

Microsoft Online Privacy? ... (4, Informative)

dgharmon (2564621) | about 2 years ago | (#42832991)

"Microsoft's PR department has started a campaign to convince Gmail users that Google reads your personal emails, referring to Google's automated method of scanning emails for keywords to generate supposedly relevant advertising".

Exactly the same way that Windows Live Hotmail does it ...

"We use your information to inform you of other products or services offered by Microsoft and its affiliates, and to send you relevant survey invitations related to Microsoft services." link [microsoft.com]

big difference (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42833041)

between listen to and believe
were nearing the last straws on the camels(balmer) back
BRING ON THE STRAWS!!

MS is right, it *is* creepy (0, Troll)

crazyjj (2598719) | about 2 years ago | (#42833051)

Much as I hate to side with MS (okay, I do like my Xbox), they've got a point on this one, even if they're doing it for all the wrong reasons. I do find it really fucking creepy that gmail is parsing my private email, no matter what their justification. I would hate to be conducting a search at work in front of my boss and have a bunch of "Hey, you're gay, so check this out!" advertising pop up because I sent some highly personal emails to a gay partner. Not to mention the fact that since they've established that they have the tech to parse emails for advertising, you know the government is going to come calling (probably already have) to make them parse emails for "national security" too. Fuck that noise.

Now go ahead and mod me down for daring to defend MS on slashdot. But you may want to think about this the next time google returns an ad that seems to know WAY too much about your personal life.

Re:MS is right, it *is* creepy (1)

SteveDorries (1313401) | about 2 years ago | (#42833101)

But who says that a government won't call MS two minutes after they get off the phone with Google?

Re:MS is right, it *is* creepy (1)

Dr_Barnowl (709838) | about 2 years ago | (#42833349)

Yes, it's creepy. But I guarantee that Microsoft are parsing your Hotmail - if only to spam filter it.

And Google explicitly admit they are doing it - have always told you they are doing it, since the early days of GMail. And I've always been OK with it because my mail isn't exactly thrilling.

What's even creepier is that email is no more secure than a postcode - and you don't even know who your mailmen are. Anyone can read it, at any of the SMTP relays it passes through. Google have made inroads into this by making encrypted connections to their server the default - so at least if you email another GMail account, you can be sure that ONLY Google and it's intended recipient are reading it.

You want privacy, you use encryption. Email is not private - it never has been. If people are getting creeped out by that - good, maybe they'll take some responsibility. But blaming Google for this isn't productive, getting off your butt and downloading Enigmail is.

Re:MS is right, it *is* creepy (1)

Dr_Barnowl (709838) | about 2 years ago | (#42833361)

duh, I meant postCARD not postCODE. I just type the latter a lot more.

Who cares? Boolean opperators are broken. (3, Interesting)

F34nor (321515) | about 2 years ago | (#42833059)

I have recently seen both quotes + and - ignored by google. Seriously WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON? Google google cheat sheet. If their own operators are no longer working the end is definitely fucking neigh for google as my search engine. I was deeply annoyed when this was happening in froogle (sic) but when MBA bullshit propagates into the search window I am looking else where.

So does anyone have any other options?

Is there a website that tracks google misbehaving?

I wonder... (1)

canadiannomad (1745008) | about 2 years ago | (#42833075)

What would happen if I opened an email account with gmail, and sent all ads to an outlook.com account, and viceversa... Would they reach equilibrium, or would the chaos ensue?

Goolge (1)

Murdoch5 (1563847) | about 2 years ago | (#42833081)

Why doesn't google just come back saying Hotmail, because you love hackers stealing your account!

And Hotmail doesn't? (3, Interesting)

gstoddart (321705) | about 2 years ago | (#42833111)

Are we meant to believe Bing isn't crawling Hotmail?

They Deserve It (1)

shawnhcorey (1315781) | about 2 years ago | (#42833119)

Anyone who believes Google hired enough people to read the millions of email it handles per day deserves Microsoft.

Everything on the Internet gets scanned by someone (1)

Nyder (754090) | about 2 years ago | (#42833135)

If you want to keep something secret, don't write it down, and best of all, don't email it to someone. Nothing is private on the internet, and if you don't treat the internet like that, then you have only yourself to blame.

If you think otherwise, then you are a fool.

Company philosophy (0)

kurt555gs (309278) | about 2 years ago | (#42833141)

Google = Do no harm
Microsoft = Do harm

Pretty simple actually.

SPAM (1)

SparrowOS (2792265) | about 2 years ago | (#42833147)

I don't want to use GMail because they will ban me thinking God is spam and then I don't have an email address!

Mark Penn and Chums (1)

tuppe666 (904118) | about 2 years ago | (#42833163)

http://tech.slashdot.org/story/13/02/08/1516238/ms-targets-google-with-another-smear-campaign [slashdot.org]

Its surprising that we have now entered a world were scum like this get hired instead or competing on innovation and quality. How much further can Microsoft Sink.

Microsoft it dirty (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42833213)

Microsoft is a dirty dirty dirty company.

They want me to share my experience on facebook.. (1)

Erleperle (1191631) | about 2 years ago | (#42833217)

Now I feel safe.

Echelon (1)

CanEHdian (1098955) | about 2 years ago | (#42833257)

Well with the combined power of the Echelon partnership rummaging through all my communications, what's a little Google added for flavour?

Same as it ever was (1)

berchca (414155) | about 2 years ago | (#42833305)

Pot meet Kettle. Kettle, this is Pot:
http://www.infoworld.com/t/internet-privacy/microsoft-attacking-gmail-tactics-it-uses-itself-212455

Seriously (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42833343)

Does anyone actually think e-mail is a private communication media?
The pot calling the kettle black IMO.
Every user in my organization knows and signs a form that e-mail is NOT secure or private. I could care less what people are e-mailing but this truth needs to be understood. Unless you do some high-powered encryption, you need to treat your e-mail as if it being read. I archive all incomming and outgoing e-mail for a minimum of five years and this archive can be used for document discovery and even be a matter of public record if so ordered.

EXTRA! EXTRA! (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 2 years ago | (#42833385)

Pot calls Kettle black, hear all about it and other useless but true facts.

Pot, meet Kettle (2)

kimvette (919543) | about 2 years ago | (#42833411)

Hmm, hotmail offers spam filtering and also targeted ads. How does Microsoft do that if they aren't "reading" emails the same way Gmail does?

It's worse: Google reveals your mail to others (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42833417)

It's actually a bit worse than MS is saying here.

If GMail user Anne sends mail to GMail user Bob, then Bob will see ads based on not only
email he has received, but also on the basis of what Anne sent to Carl.

This became strikingly obvious to me when a friend sent mail and I got car and
car loan ads. The languages involved made it clear this wasn't based on things
in my mailbox and he confirmed that, yes, he was car shopping.

There is some truth. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42833433)

I had a landlord that went to Stanford, one of his friend's went on to work at Google and he could look through Gmail boxes if he wanted. They weren't supposed to do it but they did. This was early on so they may have added security, but my landlord would not use Gmail because of this.

Rich (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42833445)

Microsoft that "pillar of integrity" and "fountain of truth" is accusing Google of being naughty. Really?

Somebody owes me a keyboard.

Pot Meet Kettle (5, Informative)

joelsherrill (132624) | about 2 years ago | (#42833467)

Has anyone looked at the Privacy link at the bottom of the login screen for outlook.com?

http://privacy.microsoft.com/en-us/default.mspx [microsoft.com]

Quoting here: "Uses of Information: Additional Details
  We use the information we collect to provide the services you request. Our services may include the display of personalized content and advertising.
  We use your information to inform you of other products or services offered by Microsoft and its affiliates, and to send you relevant survey invitations related to Microsoft services.
  We do not sell, rent, or lease our customer lists to third parties. In order to help provide our services, we occasionally provide information to other companies that work on our behalf."

So they can personalize content and advertising, send you offers, and provide it to other companies.

s/Google Mail/outlook.com/ and the claims appear to be the same.

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