Edward Wyatt and Nick Wingfield reporting on changes to the Microsoft privacy policy:

Almost no one noticed, however, even though Microsoft’s policy changes are much the same as those that Google made to its privacy rules this year.

Man, poor Google, they always get the short end of the stick.

The difference in the two events illustrates the confusion surrounding Internet consumer privacy.

I mean I just wish consumers would be consistent over what they got pissed about, right? Poor Google.

Microsoft has promised, however, that it will not use the personal information and content it collects to sell targeted advertising. It will not, for example, scan a consumer’s e-mails to generate ads that might interest the user. Google does that, and expanding its ability to draw on that content was part of the reason Google changed its privacy policy this year.

Oh, so there is a difference, and a legitimate reason why consumers are pissed about one change but not the other? So really, what we have illustrated here is not confusion by the public over consumer privacy, but confusion by the writers?

Because either the writers were confused, or they just needed to put some words on a page so they tried to make a poor Google controversy.

But it is easy to see how Microsoft customers might be confused, because the different divisions of Microsoft that draft and oversee its user agreements and privacy policies did not anticipate that the changes in the services agreement would raise privacy questions.

Ugh, still? Even though you just laid it out pretty clearly for people with this officially statement:

“However,” he added, “one thing we don’t do is use the content of our customers’ private communications and documents to create targeted advertising. If that ever changes, we’ll be the first to let our customers know.”

That’s a pretty clear and unwavering statement from Microsoft.

In the end though, poor Google and thank goodness the gray-haired-needs-to-retire-lady reported in this.


Posted by Ben Brooks