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Pig Latin may be hard to understand, but you probably need it if you use Gmail. Because Google goes through every word of your emails to sell ads. But Outlook.com doesn’t.
Outlook.com believes that people should be entitled to the same levels of privacy for online mail as they have offline. You wouldn’t expect the post office to open up and read through your letters for the purpose of targeting ads; and why should your email be any different? However many of us are unaware that our personal email is being gone through in this way every single day.
At Outook.com, we want to raise awareness of this practice and empower users to reclaim their privacy, which is why today we have launched a national petition and advertising campaign to educate people in the UK about Google’s practice of going through their personal email, so they can target users with advertising. The ads will run across the UK in print, digital, radio, and on television. We are also launching a new site at www.keepyouremailprivate.com to show, in detail, Google’s admitted practices of going through your email to sell ads.
The Outlook.com National public awareness campaign on e-mail privacy
November 04, 2013
What is Google doing with your personal email?
We know how important privacy is to the UK public: According to a GfK Roper public study released just yesterday, 84% of people in the UK disapprove of email scanning for advertising purposes. Yet, many people aren’t aware of this practice: 64% of UK consumers are completely unaware that any email providers are going through their personal email to target them with ads.
For the most part, consumers are using their email blindly, unaware that Google goes through every single word of personal Gmail messages to target advertising – even the most confidential messages. The email you sent to your friends about your decision to get a divorce – don’t be surprised if you see targeted ads for divorce attorneys and dating sites on your sidebar the next day.
Google’s targeting of ads affects you even if you don’t have a Gmail account. If you send an email to someone who does, from any provider, Google will go through that email too in order to continue profiting from all the personal information it can gather. As Google says, even if you opt out of Google’s personalised ads, “you may still see contextual ads based on the message you are reading as well as other relevant ads.” That means nobody is safe from this practice.
The truth about Google’s cavalier attitude toward your privacy has come out in court recently. In response to a lawsuit in the United States federal court against Google for snooping through personal Gmail to target ads, Google claims that users have "no legitimate expectation of privacy" when it comes to their email – that it’s like an assistant looking at their employer’s mail. But common sense says that's ridiculous; clearly, when you send a personal email to a friend or colleague, you expect that the message will not be read to target you with ads.
We believe it’s time for Google to reconnect with some old-fashioned values. There should be no compromise when it comes to your email – private should mean private. That is why Outlook.com has also announced a petition to help consumers get the message to Google that going through personal email messages to sell ads is unacceptable.
Outlook.com’s approach to privacy
Let’s be completely clear -- where does Outlook.com sit on this issue? Outlook.com prioritises your privacy. Unlike Gmail, we do not search through the content of your email, communications or documents to show you ads. Our motivation is to help you keep your email private. Just like the postal service sorts and scans mail and packages for explosives or biohazards, Outlook.com scans your mail to help prevent spam, grey mail, phishing scams, viruses, malware, and other dangers.
So no tricks and no money-making schemes – your email is private and that’s the way it will stay with Outlook.com.
Time to re-claim your privacy!
We think the practice of reading personal email for targeted ads is unacceptable – and we’re calling for Google to change its privacy practices. Those who agree with us can add their name to the petition and join the more than 170,000 who have already signed up to tell Google to stop going through their emails.
For more information and to take the first steps to reclaiming your privacy, visit www.keepyouremailprivate.com