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Scroogled: Microsoft launched 'privacy' petition to stop Google from scanning emails

Microsoft launched an anti-Google Scroogled campaign, claiming Outlook.com better protects email privacy.

By Ms. Smith on Sun, 02/10/13 - 12:58pm.

"Think Google respects your privacy? Think again," warned Microsoft's 'Don't get Scroogled' campaign. If you don't want your privacy invaded by having Google scan "every word of every email," then Microsoft says to use Outlook.com.Scroogled, Microsoft's privacy campaign against Google

Google goes through every Gmail that's sent or received, looking for keywords so they can target Gmail users with paid ads. And there's no way to opt out of this invasion of your privacy.

Microsoft's newest Scroogled campaign includes several quotes from Google's Eric Schmidt that have previously raised privacy advocates' hackles, including, "If you have something that you don't want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn't be doing it in the first place."

While trying to raise awareness of how "Google earns money by violating your privacy," Microsoft is also asking users to sign a petition to put a stop it.

At Outlook, we prioritize your privacy. But even if you don't use Gmail, Google will still go through emails you send to someone who does in order to sell ads. There is absolutely no way to opt out - whether you're a Gmail user or not.

Microsoft claims that the ads you see on Outlook.com are not based on searching your emails for keywords. Additionally, Microsoft is using stats from a GfK Roper study on email privacy that it commissioned. The press release states, "70% of consumers don't know that major email providers routinely engage in the practice of reading through their personal email to sell ads - something that 88% of people disapprove of once they are informed."

In February 2012, Microsoft launched Googlighting, a spoof of the 1980's Moonlighting TV show. It was aimed at Google's cloud collaboration and productivity software, or Google Apps. It was an effort to move people away from Google Docs and to Office 365.

Last year, Google countered Microsoft's claims with a "myth busting" post that claimed, "No one reads your email but you. Like most major email providers, our computers scan messages to get rid of spam and malware, as well as show ads that are relevant to you." The Google Public Policy Blog listed seven myths and facts regarding Google's approach to privacy, including:

Myth: Microsoft's approach to privacy is better than Google's. [Microsoft]

Fact: We don't make judgments about other people's policies or controls. But our industry-leading Privacy Dashboard, Ads Preferences Manager and data liberation efforts enable you to understand and control the information we collect and how we use it-and we've simplified our privacy policy to make it easier to understand. Microsoft has no data liberation effort or Dashboard-like hub for users. Their privacy policy states that "information collected through one Microsoft service may be combined with information obtained through other Microsoft services."

Meanwhile, Yahoo and Google have struck a global ad deal.

Lastly, if you won’t consider leaving Google free services, then you should at least consider easily encrypting your Gmail. If you are interested in a free email service that is neither Gmail, nor Outlook, then here are some choices from when I was on the hunt for a free email service that respects privacy and security.

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