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Microsoft's Ballmer: Google Reads Your Mail

Zonk posted about 7 years ago | from the ballmer-lives-in-a-glass-house dept.

Privacy 264

Anonymous writes "A piece of video has emerged in which Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer says of Google, 'they read your mail and we don't.' Evidently, it was part of a lengthy discussion on the future of the software business model, and whether advertising could support free consumer software. Ballmer said it doesn't work, at least when it comes to email. '"That's just a factual statement, not even to be pejorative. The theory was if we read your mail, if somebody read your mail, they would know what to talk to you about. It's not working out as brilliantly as the concept was laid out." Ballmer isn't the first to fire salvos at Google's Gmail privacy policy. Privacy advocates have been critical over the policy almost since the beginning, but the popularity of the service has skyrocketed nonetheless.'"

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What a crock (5, Insightful)

nacturation (646836) | about 7 years ago | (#20895381)

Yes, Google "reads" your email in order to serve up context-sensitive advertisements. Microsoft also "reads" your email because if they didn't read your email, they wouldn't be able to transmit it to your browser to be displayed on-screen. That Microsoft chooses to read your email but still serves up irrelevant, obtrusive advertisements is their problem.
 

Re:What a crock (2, Insightful)

rilister (316428) | about 7 years ago | (#20895451)

Well, I guess it all depends if they reference historical information to serve those ads or not.

If I were google, I'd build up a statistical record of what words come up most often per user which would be real useful in deciding what "the doors" means in context: is an ad for a record shop relevant or Home Depot?

Then, of course, that statistical record would start to become an accurate record of who you are after a while. Anyone know the answer?

Re:What a crock (-1)

rtb61 (674572) | about 7 years ago | (#20895607)

Now here is a interesting point which no one has tackled yet. When I go out to my letter box, and open by letter box and look inside my letter box I see 'my' mail, it is no longer the mail of the people who sent it to me, it is my mail, and any unauthorised person who attempts to open my mail, or intercept my mail or read my mail, has committed a criminal offence.

So when a gmail user sends me an email, google has invaded my privacy as the email receiver and if they attempt to send me a targeted add based upon the contents of my email, have they committed an offence and opened and read my mail with out my authorisation.

Oddly enough this privacy comment from the CEO of a company that has patented the ability to do much the same in the operating system. So what, M$ wont read your email, they will just monitor their (P)OS as it reads every file on your hard disk, which obviously would include your email. So typical Ballmer, almost the truth, yes they don't currently read your email, but they soon will be. After all if they were not intending to do so, why would they patent the concept. So Ballmer foot in mouth yet again, creating a stigma for privacy invasion by companies while creating an automated system that would be even more privacy invasive, CEO, I am sure the word clown belongs in that title.

Re:What a crock (2, Insightful)

Macthorpe (960048) | about 7 years ago | (#20895731)

So what, M$ wont read your email, they will just monitor their (P)OS as it reads every file on your hard disk
I think something outrageous like that actually requires you to back it up with a source, don't you?

Re:What a crock (2, Funny)

somersault (912633) | about 7 years ago | (#20895921)

Everyone knows that Microsoft doesn't do open source >.> *ba doom tish*

Re:What a crock (5, Interesting)

timmarhy (659436) | about 7 years ago | (#20895775)

ermm, no.

no matter how much you'd like to dramatise it, a bot collecting statistics from your email (which you knowingly agreed to if your using gmail) is not a criminal offence.

People don't use gmail for privacy, they use it for it's great features and large storage. if google want's to collect data on my account and throw up targeted ads for me why should i give 2 shakes of a donkey's dick about it? they aren't scamming me or keeping tabs on my sex life or political agenda - their selling advertising space, nothing more.

Re:What a crock (2, Insightful)

GPL Apostate (1138631) | about 7 years ago | (#20896847)

no matter how much you'd like to dramatize it, a bot collecting statistics from your email (which you knowingly agreed to if your using gmail) is not a criminal offense.

And technically, it's not spyware, since spyware usually resides on the client's machine.

if google wants to collect data on my account and throw up targeted ads for me why should i give 2 shakes of a donkey's dick about it?

I dunno. Some of us do care. We do not approve of our communications being 'harvested' and used to direct targeted advertising (propaganda) against us.

The whole 'they came for the gypsies...' bromide could be rattled off here.

Re:What a crock (2, Interesting)

kcbanner (929309) | about 7 years ago | (#20895805)

Ok firstly:
This is something called "digital" at some point something is going to actually read your message! Yes! It will! If your scared why not encrypt all your email? The so called "people" reading this email will not be able to see it plaintext, and the machines digest it as normal.
Everything reads the goddamn mail, its information going over wires. Your analogy breaks down with the real mail because it never has to be opened to be transmitted...email has to be "read" by all the damn routers it goes through, smtp servers, etc.
In conclusion, I wish everyone would get some sense and realize that real mail has a separate set of rules than email.

Re:What a crock (2, Informative)

GPL Apostate (1138631) | about 7 years ago | (#20896907)

There is a big difference between something 'reading' your mail and equipment that processes it. Otherwise, it could be said that a typewriter 'reads' the writing of what somebody types on it. All those whirring mechanical gears must be getting smart.

The difference, and it is a big one, is that google is processing the text you transport through their mechanism to discern information to use against you. Yes, I view advertisers and advertising as primarily being targeted to be used against the consumer. It isn't uncommon for people to view advertising as intrusive and a bad thing. Even in this new world of google-worship.

It's kind of shocking, to be frank, how much some people lick the boots of the advertisers these days.

Re:What a crock (0)

SL Baur (19540) | about 7 years ago | (#20895889)

So when a gmail user sends me an email, google has invaded my privacy as the email receiver and if they attempt to send me a targeted add based upon the contents of my email, have they committed an offence and opened and read my mail with out my authorisation.
Whoa, slow down there cowboy. Any webmail service has to "read" email that it relays through the system. Any email service too, for that matter.

It's always been the case that email is best compared to a postcard. When it's sitting in someone's spool directory, it's readable unless you've encrypted it with end-to-end encryption like GPG or the equivalent.

If you don't wish to send postcard email, encrypt it. Plain and simple. Otherwise you must assume that your email will be read by someone. It's just the way the technology works.

This is all more FUD like the 200+ invisible magic patents that they can't name.

Re:What a crock (4, Interesting)

RedWizzard (192002) | about 7 years ago | (#20895987)

Now here is a interesting point which no one has tackled yet. When I go out to my letter box, and open by letter box and look inside my letter box I see 'my' mail, it is no longer the mail of the people who sent it to me, it is my mail, and any unauthorised person who attempts to open my mail, or intercept my mail or read my mail, has committed a criminal offence.
There are several problems with that analogy. You clearly own your letterbox, but do you own your Gmail inbox? It's on their server. There's a clear argument that you own the account, but the actual contents of the storage dedicated to that account? There's certainly no legal recourse if Google deletes your mail accidentally.

At what point has Google delivered your mail? When it's in your inbox? When it's been downloaded to your computer? What if they are scanning and indexing it before they move it to your inbox?

And unencrypted email is not like a sealed letter, it's like a postcard. This is important because privacy of correspondence laws in the US are derived from the 4th Amendment and are therefore restricted by the requirement for a "reasonable expectation of privacy". It's hard to argue that you have a reasonable expectation of privacy when the sender sends the correspondence in plain text and with no prior knowledge of what systems it might pass through.

So when a gmail user sends me an email, google has invaded my privacy as the email receiver and if they attempt to send me a targeted add based upon the contents of my email, have they committed an offence and opened and read my mail with out my authorisation.
It's doubtful that Google have committed any sort of offense, even if they have actual people reading your mail. Certainly Google would have a very strong defense if they can show that they are following the terms you agreed to when you created the account. Further, a ruling against allowing Google to scan email to target advertising would have far reaching consequences: it would effectively ban the use of spam and virus filters by ISPs as well. I suspect a court would be very unlikely to make such a ruling.

Re:What a crock (1)

rtb61 (674572) | about 7 years ago | (#20896883)

I think you missed the point. I do not have nor do I want a gmail account, I have sufficient web mail services already, be they MSN, Yahoo, AOL etc more garbage-mail accounts I do not need. What I was talking about was at which point the mail some else sends, their mail, becomes the mail you receive, your mail ie. the sender versus the recipient and whose email is being read. So as the receiver getting email into my private ISP provided account I have agreed to nothing with google nor can the sending by use gmail imply that I have.

As for selling advertising, I would think attempting to create a profile of someone for personally targeting advertising would be crossing the line. Advertising should simply be about making the 'public' aware of a product, not a personally crafted psychological assault to artificially induce desire for an otherwise unwanted product, sounds terrible when it is worded that way, doesn't it.

So what new legally enforced limits will need to be applied to achieve a suitable balance, between allowing companies to inform the general public of products they wish to sell and allowing people some quite, personal, non-'hey, consumer, buy this shit now' time.

Re:What a crock (2, Funny)

ThirdPrize (938147) | about 7 years ago | (#20896029)

Can I recommend the following item [zapatopi.net] for you as well. I hear it stops M$ and Google reading your thoughts as well.

Re:What a crock (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20895463)

There's a difference between RELAYING data, and MINING it.

Re:What a crock (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20895583)

There's a difference between MINING data, and READING it.

Re:What a crock (4, Funny)

noidentity (188756) | about 7 years ago | (#20895867)

I'm a robot, and reading data IS mining to me, you insensitive clod!

Re:What a crock (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20896369)

And where does it say ANYWHERE that Google is mining your mail? This argument comes up over and over but is flat out false.

Re:What a crock (1)

stavros-59 (1102263) | about 7 years ago | (#20895609)

Worth checking old /. topics sometimes. The company that thought up this one and applied for a patent is not in a position to even comment on any issue related to privacy.

http://slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=07/07/14/043200 [slashdot.org]

The patent is real: http://appft1.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO1&Sect2=HITOFF&d=PG01&p=1&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsrchnum.html&r=1&f=G&l=50&s1=%2220070157227%22.PGNR.&OS=DN/20070157227&RS=DN/20070157227 [uspto.gov]

People in glasshouses shouldn't throw stones. Aren't windows usually made of glass?

Not including the amount of personal user information and activity that is part of the Volume Shadow Copy and System Restore functions in Vista. Less so in XP.

http://it.slashdot.org/it/07/07/14/071237.shtml [slashdot.org]

Perhaps Steve Ballmer forgot that Windows users are the customers not the damned product

Re:What a crock (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20895711)

Jesus what are you blabbing about? I could just as easily claim MS filed for that patent to prevent others from delivering advertising through the OS. You see, until they actually do something with the idea, you can't say jack shit about their motives.

Gmail exists now. It catalogs and stores information about your emails now. I personally do not have a problem with this, but saying that MS cannot complain about it because of something they might implement in some future OS at some point in the future is retarded and asinine.

Re:What a crock (1)

perlfu2 (946921) | about 7 years ago | (#20895545)

Since Google essentially reads for the sake of ad context and to provide you with relevant information I'd say it's a positive over the Microsoft/etc competition. I'd much rather see content tailored to me than some bulk crap hurled at the masses with the hopes they might get lucky.

Re:What a crock (5, Funny)

Aqua OS X (458522) | about 7 years ago | (#20895815)

It's also worth noting that Hotmail doesn't send or receive many of its messages. Microsoft is going that extra mile by making sure that we also don't read our email.

Re:What a crock (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 7 years ago | (#20896757)

I'll let you off on the receive, but I take issue with the send part of that statement. My spam filter can attest that Hotmail does send a huge amount of email.

Re:What a crock (2, Insightful)

bytesex (112972) | about 7 years ago | (#20896069)

That is disingenious to say the least. You purposely mix up what's happening through either intent or technology in both systems. I'm no MS apologist, and I like Google very much, and I do realize there is a whole spectrum between 'parsing to make fit on screen' and 'passing onto the NSA', but MS' intent is to make the text be seen by you (which is nice, and has only my interest at heart), while Google's intent is also to use your text for other, commercial purposes (which clearly doesn't really have my interest at heart). To pretend that it's essentially the same thing is bad form, man. It doesn't add anything to the discussion.

What your Windows reads? (1)

dUb (21971) | about 7 years ago | (#20896213)

Your Vista reads your mail! It knows all about you.
Vista reads your passwords! Did they tell you?
Also Internet Explorer knows your bank account and credit card number! Check your swap/cache often enough...

Who can you trust?

Re:What a crock (1)

StarvingSE (875139) | about 7 years ago | (#20896727)

What gets me about this Ballmer statement is that e-mail, unless you specifically encrypt it, is insecure by nature. It's all sent plaintext so you have to assume that anything you send can potentially be read by some other party. I have no idea whether comcast is reading my e-mail, or anyone in between that has the know-how to capture the packets.

Re:What a crock (3, Interesting)

jonnyj (1011131) | about 7 years ago | (#20896729)

Be careful of typical knee-jerk Slashdot reactions that say Microsoft == Evil and Google == Good. There is a legitimate privacy point here. If I click on a context-sensitive advertisement that's based on the content of my emails, the advertiser now knows something about me that he didn't know before. That gives the advertiser the opportunity to treat me differently from other enquirers.

How long until advertisers discover that it's more profitable to withhold information about cheap or steeply discounted products from potential customers who've previously received emails from luxury car manufacturers, for example? I don't know if it's possible with the present generation of Google's technology, but is there anything ion the Gmail terms and conditions that prevent it?

It gets better (2)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20896739)

Google has openly fought against the US governments ability to read your email. That is they only allow the feds into read YOUR email IFF they have a warrent on you. MS AND yahoo actually allowed the feds in during W's illegal action. In addition, in China, both MS and Yahoo cooperate with the chinese gov. in giving up email. Google has cooperated with the Chinese gov, but nowhere near what MS and Yahoo do. Just like in America, they do not give chinese gov. carte Blanche ability to read the emails.

For the naysayers, here is simple proof. When the feds went after the search engines, where did it become public? Only the ones that fought against them. The ones that cooperated were kept quiet. And yes, ALL of the majors were expected to cooperate. Only Google fought it.

Actually (5, Insightful)

El Lobo (994537) | about 7 years ago | (#20895397)

Actually, I don't think they "read" the mail. Yes, they have some program that "scans" your mails and indexes it in some way, and then , it shows you the ads if they find some key words. Technically, they are scanning your mail, but a program cannot "read" (ie. process and "understand" the writing). So is it a violation of privacy? May be... this is a border line case.

Re:Actually (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20895649)

Maybe Balmer believes that the google context-ads system is now a sentient AI?

Analize (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20895667)

I think the correct term could be "analyze".

Re:Actually (4, Insightful)

Angostura (703910) | about 7 years ago | (#20895791)

Precisely. Unfortunately for Ballmer, if he had said 'analyse' or 'parse' it wouldn't sound nearly as sexy as 'read'.

The sky is falling! The sky is falling! (5, Funny)

Noryungi (70322) | about 7 years ago | (#20895415)


It's official... Google reads your email! Be afraid! Be VERY afraid! It must be true, because Steve Ballmer of Microsoft says so, and we all know how decent Steve is!

Ahem.

Excuse me, I got carried away here for just a second. :-)

By the way, if you don't want anyone to read your email, don't use gmail, hotmail or yahoo mail... But do use GPG and a local email client, other than Outlook... mmmmmkay?

Re:The sky is falling! The sky is falling! (5, Insightful)

Mr_Mirsal (1155535) | about 7 years ago | (#20895551)

Even if it wasn't a miserable FUD attempt, I would say 'so what ?'
E-mails are sent through the internet in fully readable plain text.
You don't want anyone to read your email ? Then encrypt it. Period.

Every email provider reads your emails (4, Insightful)

this great guy (922511) | about 7 years ago | (#20895771)

I would add that virtually every email service provide already reads your emails... how does Balmer think anti-spam technogologies work ? Duh ! (Notable exception: greylisting.)

Re:The sky is falling! The sky is falling! (1)

speaker of the truth (1112181) | about 7 years ago | (#20895933)

E-mails are sent through the internet in fully readable plain text.
You don't want anyone to read your email ? Then encrypt it. Period.
Can you then post the entire contents of your inbox please? After all, you don't care do you?

Re:The sky is falling! The sky is falling! (1)

mce (509) | about 7 years ago | (#20896059)

You don't want anyone to read your email ? Then encrypt it. Period.

That's fine with non-webmail. But with webmail (assuming you even can encrypt it in that case, which I doubt very much with any of the available providers) at least the webmail provider must read the mail in order to display it to you.

More importantly, there's a big difference between being able to catch individual mails along the way and reading and analysing my 20 (yes: two-zero) years of e-mail history.

Re:The sky is falling! The sky is falling! (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 7 years ago | (#20896777)

You could implement PGP or similar in Javascript. Possibly you could do this as a Firefox extension, which would ask you for the PGP key when you went to the webmail site. Then, all of the mail would be encrypted everywhere except the browser. Knowing Firefox, someone has probably done this already, but since I don't use webmail I am too lazy to check.

Re:The sky is falling! The sky is falling! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20896785)

Have you tried FireGPG [tuxfamily.org] ?

Okay, and? (1, Insightful)

pembo13 (770295) | about 7 years ago | (#20895461)

Google has scripts reading your email: no one forces you to use Gmail. Microsoft produces an operating system to which they give US government agencies secret access: there is generally no legal requirement to use Windows, but it's darn hard to avoid it.

Re:Okay, and? (2, Funny)

darthflo (1095225) | about 7 years ago | (#20895523)

So... If this access is secret, how exactly do you know of it?

("Sometimes I wish the government would actually kill conspiracy theorists, even if it were just to prove them right")

Re:Okay, and? (1)

ozmanjusri (601766) | about 7 years ago | (#20896009)

If this access is secret, how exactly do you know of it?

I'm guessing the reference is to the _NSAKEY [wikipedia.org] variable.

There's still a fair bit of controversy over whether it is a real backdoor or not. Given that the NSA did add a backdoor to the international version of Lotus Notes, it would be unsurprising for them to try the same thing with Windows.

You just need to ask yourself how likely it is that Microsoft stuck up for their customers' rights when asked add the same to their OS.

Re:Okay, and? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20895537)

Microsoft produces an operating system to which they give US government agencies secret access.
Goddamn, and I thought I had heard it all already from reading Twitter posts. Well done sir, you have made me lose even more faith in the /. community.

Re:Okay, and? (1)

speaker of the truth (1112181) | about 7 years ago | (#20895957)

It isn't my choice if I send the e-mail to a JohnDoe@somedomain.com and they forward it to their gmail account and have their gmail account setup so the address from their e-mails always appear as JohnDoe@somedomain.com

Re:Okay, and? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20896537)

So how does this change if you where to send mail to a friend who forwards it to work where it gets tracked and perhaps read by a IT guy. Or if your local ISP is tracking your incoming/outgoing mail? The nature of email is that you do not have full control over both ends. You do not have control over the middle. If you are really worried about this then use encryption, or do what the rest of the sane world does by not sending important data through email. If you do, then the next thing you know somebody will report that you used RNC addresses when you where not supposed to and BAM.. you will have some third party scouring through your mail faster than you can delete it!

Re:Okay, and? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20896417)

Mind filling us in.. what scripts? What does it gain them to read the some odd %80 of SPAM that I am sure they receive. On top of all of that the only real thing that they can do with any dataaccording to the privacy policy they setup is to serve better and better ads. Plus, why the hell would they have "scripts" doing it.. Its not exactly like "grep porn /var/spool/gmail/*" has a chance of working on a distributed system that size.

Just so you know... (1)

rinkjustice (24156) | about 7 years ago | (#20895467)

To watch the said video, you'll need to sign up for a mydeo account, which is apparently not free, but a 31 day limited trial.

so... (3, Informative)

cosmocain (1060326) | about 7 years ago | (#20895469)

From TFA:

Microsoft and Google have been gearing up for a major war over software as a service and web-based applications, with Google offering Gmail and Google docs, and Microsoft offering Hotmail, Office and preparing for Windows Live Office.


it's just the last sentence and it contains every justification of mixing up the verbs "to read" and "to process". reading is something done by humans, not some word-sensitive processing for freaking advertisements. everyone a bit tech-savvy knows about googles somehow strange interpretation of privacy - so: if you don't like it, don't ******* use it.

I knew it (5, Funny)

jsse (254124) | about 7 years ago | (#20895479)

Ballmer says of Google, 'they read your mail and we don't.'
Now I know why you don't respond to my comments and complains, you just simply don't read them at all.

Your honesty as a corporate leader shines us all.

Re:I knew it (1)

jkrise (535370) | about 7 years ago | (#20895565)

LOL! Not to mention Microsoft doesn't read those messages from "Click here to send Feedback to Microsoft".

Re:I knew it (1)

RuBLed (995686) | about 7 years ago | (#20895841)

You should know better, don't feed trolls :D

I had really wished sometime ago that it would be displayed this way: "Click here to send FUD back to Microsoft"

It would make more sense, I would be encouraged to click it...

Re:I knew it (1)

dgun (1056422) | about 7 years ago | (#20895575)

Now I know why you don't respond to my comments and complains, you just simply don't read them at all.

They don't have to read your bitchy emails. They harvest enough data from your system to know and ignore your complaints before you can even get around to making them. If that's not responsive customer service, I don't know what is.

Meh (1)

Verte (1053342) | about 7 years ago | (#20895513)

I quite like contextual adds. My Inbox is full of Coyotos and Hurd related emails, so I get to have a good chuckle every time I get advertisements for Minix 3. Nice try Andy.

And what is with the gasps? If you have sensitive mail, you need to be using pop3 and encrypting it. That's just common sense.

LOLceos. (-1, Redundant)

eshefer (12336) | about 7 years ago | (#20895525)

googl is im u'r inbux, reedin u'r mailz.

The full quote... (4, Funny)

darthflo (1095225) | about 7 years ago | (#20895549)

The video mentioned in TFS is, of course, a fake. The actual quote was this: Ballmer: [...] they read your mail and we don't, but our Developers, Developers, Developers are working on that! Developers, Developers, Developers...

After a few minutes of his "developers" chant, Ballmer was reported as throwing chairs at every googly seeming person in the room.

Re:The full quote... (1)

gbobeck (926553) | about 7 years ago | (#20895613)

Did you catch the ending where Ballmer screams "I'm going to Effin' kill Google!!!"?

did he not get the memo? (1)

wwmedia (950346) | about 7 years ago | (#20895589)

did he not get the memo from?
"m$ and google and are evil"

oh wait...

Whoopie! (1)

gbobeck (926553) | about 7 years ago | (#20895595)

Ok, so Google's Gmail "reads" my emails. So what?!

1. Email is transmitted in plain text anyways... so anyone can read it.
2. My machine could be compromised. Someone could use a keylogger or other method to capture my keystrokes and read what would be my email.
3. I could run my own mail server and read my user's mail.

To combat 1 and 3, I could use PGP or GNUpg (or some other means, for that matter) and encrypt my mail. Privided that I distribute my keys via key server or some other non-mail related means, no one (ok, maybe the NSA...) except people I choose can read my sent email.

Email isn't a secure medium. Get over it.

Re:Whoopie! (1)

vux984 (928602) | about 7 years ago | (#20896017)

Email isn't a secure medium. Get over it.

Are you saying that we have to 'secure' it before we can expect any level of privacy?

My home isn't completely secure. Get this - I have windows covered in GLASS for crying out loud... GLASS. Can you beleive that?! I don't know what I was thinking, but there you have it! I really haven't got a clue why the place isn't full of hobos and bums with naught but a lousy glass barrier being all that's keeping them out.

Or maybe, just maybe, it doesn't have to locked down like fort knox before we can have a reasonable sense of security and privacy.

I know my email could be read by my ISP, but I mostly trust them not to do it. And I would feel pretty angry and upset if I found out an employee was sitting their reading all my email for kicks. I would expect that he be fired at the very least once caught. If I had anything truly private that I didn't want to risk I would take it upon myself to secure it betterl but just because I didn't encrypt something that doesn't mean I expect or give permission to everyone on the planet to read it.

Yeah! (0, Redundant)

darkob (634931) | about 7 years ago | (#20895601)

I for one salute our new Google overlords!

Re:Yeah! (2, Funny)

gbobeck (926553) | about 7 years ago | (#20895631)

I for one salute our new Google overlords!

Well, at least we know they will know where to search for us!

This revelation will FUCKING KILL GOOGLE! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20895627)

*hurls seating device*

reading vs passing on my email and other info (1)

wakim1618 (579135) | about 7 years ago | (#20895629)

Google has a relatively good reputation when it comes to privacy. Primarily, while they may provide aggregated data and statistics, they do not pass my personal data on to 3rd parties (e.g. advertisers or the government). Gmail produces context sensitive (and often humorous) ads while hotmail produces annoying flashing banners. Moreover, Microsoft has a poor record when it comes to protecting my privacy (e.g. WGA, DRM with Vista).

Re:reading vs passing on my email and other info (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20895699)

Google reads my gmail, everyone else read my hotmail.

given googles track record (0, Flamebait)

talledega500 (994228) | about 7 years ago | (#20895655)

Gmail is to be avoided.

Bubble burst 2.0? (1)

ThirdPrize (938147) | about 7 years ago | (#20895677)

This whole current Dot Com boom is based on the assumption that Google had found a way to supply relevant ads to all the page views out there. If this assumption is wrong (and lets face it, when as the last time you clicked on a google ad) then we have some pretty shakey foundations out there.

I have... (1)

cheekyboy (598084) | about 7 years ago | (#20896013)

when looking for hotel booking agents in asia, and I did book as well since they were cheap and no taxes, where as a direct hotel booking incurred their local GST + 'service tax' of 10%.

If Microsoft doesn't "read" your mail the same way (4, Interesting)

lpontiac (173839) | about 7 years ago | (#20895685)

(ie pass it through software which matches up tokens against a database containing other tokens) .. then how do they filter out spam?

Re:If Microsoft doesn't "read" your mail the same (1)

und0 (928711) | about 7 years ago | (#20895857)

Mmmh, using ESP instead of ISP?

Re:If Microsoft doesn't "read" your mail the same (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20895911)

... then how do they filter out spam?

I don't think they do. Hotmail's spam filtering is absolute shit.

Re:If Microsoft doesn't "read" your mail the same (1)

Aladrin (926209) | about 7 years ago | (#20896077)

I was thinking 'filter out viruses', but spam works as well. The answer is that all email providers 'read' your mail in this respect, but only Google displays ads based on the content. (That I know of.)

Do I care? Not a whit. As far as I know, the information gleaned from the 'read' isn't stored anywhere after the page is loaded (IE: it's only ever in RAM) and no human ever does the reading. If either of those things were happening, I'd care.

Re:If Microsoft doesn't "read" your mail the same (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20896181)

Easy! They simply block all email from being able to reach your inbox.

Gmail (4, Insightful)

u235meltdown (940099) | about 7 years ago | (#20895693)

I have been using Gmail since 2004, and am glad to say I haven't deleted an email (other than spam) yet. It is understandable that there are privacy concerns with this type of archival of personal data. Personally, I think that the benefits outweigh the potential risks. I don't discuss anything too private over email or the internet for that matter because of the fact that it is less personal. The ease of having all my multiple personal, work, and school email addresses forward to one globally accessible inbox is just worth it to me.

They don't need to, they got your PC by the balls (5, Insightful)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | about 7 years ago | (#20895705)

Lets be honest here, this is MICROSOFT we are talking about here warning us that Google doesn't respect our privacy. Well they should know shouldn't they? The creators of the least secure OS ever made, the OS that updates itself when we don't want it too, that has a EULA that gives MS the right to snoop around on your system, read whatever it wants and alter whatever it wants and if it destroys anything, too bad. The OS that has been known to phone home until someone found out and then they disable it saying that they couldn't identify you from just your IP and credit card number and every other bit of personal information they could find.

Sure google reads your gmail, we know this. It is how it works, they are very clear about it and if you don't like it, don't use it. It is not like google has a monopoly or anything they have been found guilty of abusing on several continents, that forces you to use their services.

Sometimes I think MS needs to hire a person to increase their public relations. The task would not be complex. He just stands next to the microphone at MS press-release center, and whenever an MS employee walks up to it, he zaps them.

Or put more simple? MS if you want to improve your image, SHUT UP. Do NOT say a single thing for the next year and your image will go through the roof, because you just keep saying these insane things that everyone with a brain can see for the complete and utter lying bullshit it really is.

FUD only works when you got a shred of believability left. If Steve Ballmer proclaimed that the sky was blue, I would doubt that.

What next, Bush calling Blair a bit of thicky who lied to his voters about Iraq? Britney Spears calling the Spice Girls a bad act? Germany commenting on the US tendency to start wars?

Really, MS needs to hire a public relation officer who knows that less is more. The only thing Steve Ballmer should be allowed to say in a year is, Hi, these are the profit figures for last year. Thank you, goodbye.

I wonder if the shareholders can demand he keeps his mouth shut because he is damaging the value of the company.

Re:They don't need to, they got your PC by the bal (1)

mangastudent (718064) | about 7 years ago | (#20896263)

Mostly good points, but, still:

This is a line that Microsoft up to now has refused to cross.

A pretty important line, in my book.

Now, my backup email account is with Hotmail due to it being in existence far before Gmail and of course inertia, but this is one thing that does not encourage me to change that.

Pot, meet Kettle (2, Interesting)

waferhead (557795) | about 7 years ago | (#20895709)

Didn't Hotmail have some brouhaha awhile back where the fine detail of the EULA basically said they OWNED any email/IP that went through their service?

Maybe I'm just delusional again...

Can... not... resist (0, Redundant)

ivlad (646764) | about 7 years ago | (#20895727)

In Soviet Russia E-mail reads your Ballmer

Not if you encrypt it. (1)

aliquis (678370) | about 7 years ago | (#20895737)

Just encrypt the real mails with GPG and it won't matter if they "read" it.
Just force everyone else to use it aswell.

In other news... (1)

Hanners1979 (959741) | about 7 years ago | (#20895751)

...all anti-spam software is reading your mail. Yes, even Microsoft's.

So what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20895753)

Microsoft's Ballmer: Google Reads Your Mail

Yeah, Ballmer also thinks Eric Schmidt is a 'fucking pussy'. Mr Ballmer: in Soviet Russia sweat patches YOU!

I wouldn't like it if I were a HotMail user... (1)

asserted (818761) | about 7 years ago | (#20895905)

> It's not working out as brilliantly as the concept was laid out.

If I were a HotMail user, I'd start packing up.

Google reads my mail? (1)

madbawa (929673) | about 7 years ago | (#20895913)

I'd like to tell Mr. Ballmer that this is so not true
and....THUD!!!!!!!

**HIT BY A CHAIR, FALLS TO GROUND GROANING IN PAIN**

Ballmer: And you were sayin?

Please quote completely (4, Funny)

Opportunist (166417) | about 7 years ago | (#20895937)

I hate people who quote out of context. At least be complete.

they read your mail and we don't ...have to because we know everything we want to know about you through the phoning home of our OS.

What Ballmer meant to say (1)

Per Abrahamsen (1397) | about 7 years ago | (#20895941)

Stave Ballmer sometimes have trouble expressing himself verbally, so here is what he meant to say: "The algorithms that reads your mail on a gmail acoount are more advanced than the algorithms that reads your mail on a hotmail account."

Which is true, so no reason to get angry at him.

Re:What Ballmer meant to say (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20895967)

LOLZ @ Google fanboys - we know what you do ROFL

+447831737715

Deleted (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20895955)

Atleast they don't delete my mail like Hotmail did after 7 years of usage and not logging in via their webinterface for 30 days.

they read your mail and we don't (1)

yoprst (944706) | about 7 years ago | (#20895961)

the only plausible explanation is that Ballmer can't read, I guess...

Ballmers Proof (3, Funny)

PinkyDead (862370) | about 7 years ago | (#20895997)

Pretty damning evidence:

From: sergey.brin@hotmail.com
To: eric.schmidt@msn.com
Re: Reading user's gmail

Eric,

Sounds like a great idea.

S.

BadAnalogyMan says... (2, Funny)

adnonsense (826530) | about 7 years ago | (#20896051)

This is like a ginormous soot-stained, pitted, dented and immobile pot which has been simmering for the last twenty-five years calling the nearby, newish and rapidly expanding kettle made from stainless steel which is now somewhat more rusty than it was in 1998, black.

BTW Google reads your slashdot comments too.

So does Microsoft (1)

sabernet (751826) | about 7 years ago | (#20896081)

Last I checked: Hotmail has a spam filter. It also has a junk mail folder.

I assume it isn't psychic and somewhere down the line, a bot reads the mail's content, matches it in both a baysian and literal way and makes a decision as to whether the mail was unsolicited.

Gmail reads the mail, does the same, but also sends keywords to an adbot.

Both read your mail Ballmer, you twit.

The only difference is you guys weren't smart enough to attach the spam bot to the ad bot.

Do the following test (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20896127)

Create a page on a non US server not associated with you. Make sure the page is buried and unlinked. Get a friend to send you an email with that page in it, hotmail included. Check the apache logs.

Speaks To CEOs strikes again (5, Insightful)

simong (32944) | about 7 years ago | (#20896129)

Ballmer's job is to serve FUD to those who read Forbes Magazine for the articles, and he's done it again. He plants seeds of doubt in the minds of people who probably have their emails printed out for them, and can't tell the difference between Gmail, Hotmail or the corporate Lotus Notes system that's rapidly coming to the end of its life. The sysadmins will shortly recommend dumping Notes for a system based on Zimbra [zimbra.com] , but as the CEO goes to sign it off at a tenth of the price of an equivalent MS Exchange system, he notices in the high level description that it supports Gmail... wait, isn't that a bad thing? The proposal is rejected and the CEO's doubt sets in motion the installation of a shiny new Exchange system, and Microsoft take another scalp thanks to Speaks To CEOs' ramblings.

spam filters (2, Insightful)

aivarsk (725586) | about 7 years ago | (#20896197)

Spam filters "read" your email so don't use them.

talking through his back.ORIFICE as usual .. (3, Informative)

rs232 (849320) | about 7 years ago | (#20896273)

"When you register for certain Microsoft services, we will ask you to provide personal information. The information we collect may be combined with information obtained from other Microsoft services and other companies. We use cookies and other technologies to keep track of your interactions with our sites and services to offer a personalised experience" http://privacy.microsoft.com/en-gb/default.aspx [microsoft.com]

Because MS does not need to read your email ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20896407)

They already have a finger in your ..... doh ... nevermind !

Don't use any for private e-mail (1, Interesting)

MrMickS (568778) | about 7 years ago | (#20896567)

I don't understand the popularity of e-mail services like google mail, yahoo mail, hotmail etc. If you read the terms and conditions in them all you are signing away your privacy rights to the contents of your e-mail as soon as you sign up. Sadly the majority of people signing up don't understand this. They see the names Yahoo, Google, Microsoft, and don't bother reading very closely.

Though I'm a little skeptical about his motives Ballmer is doing some good here. Of course it won't get past the MS is bad crowd on slashdot but, if it gets enough coverage, it may make people think about what they trust these email systems with.

I've run my own e-mail since the early '90s and see no reason to want to change now. I view these systems as similar to routing all of your snail mail through a third party that opens it, analyzes it, delivers it. They also sign you up to a bunch of mailing lists for products that relate to the things in your post and selling off any statistical information they can get.

Re:Don't use any for private e-mail (1)

Pecisk (688001) | about 7 years ago | (#20896917)

Yes, Google or Microsoft is interested in my relationship issues, creative plans in small scale, dreams, mailing list messages, etc. They would be if they would have perfect AI, better than human, to extract such info from my emails. Lucky, I am writing mostly in Latvian.

Duh.

Yes, there are some things to be worried about webmails, as security of email services, because then someone who knows me or wants to know about my plans could extract _concrete_ info. But "reading" such emails in masses...I think that even Microsoft would agree about it as big waste of computer/personal/whatever time. And if you are in competition, with, well, Google, then using our own email server would be kinda natural, I guess. Also if you don't like that they make some coin on your emails then also don't use them. But it has nothing to do with privacy.

Webmail has it's place in email world. Private email servers in certain situations are much much better solution and if I would have a server in data center, I undoubtedly would use it. However, I have other things to do, like doing real admin stuff, so I just don't care about it.

I don't mind... (1)

Zaatxe (939368) | about 7 years ago | (#20896581)

... as long as they don't make sleeping pills out of it and don't share the profits with me!

At least they don't read your disks like MS (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20896753)

Looks like somebody forgot about personal information read through the WGA, machines forced to upgrade then reboot (last year) and others where the updates are forced even if the user turns them off (this summer), all situations where the user has zero control over what's being done on his systems and his data.

Yes, Google reads your email like every mail service provider would do if a government said so, and the US Govt. probably said so, but that doesn't make Microsoft more trustworthy, especially given their history.
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