A radio ad, for Microsoft Outlook, began with a character who stated, Ymay ivatepray e-mailway isway onway ofway eirthay usinessbay. The voice-over then stated Pig Latin may be hard to understand, but you probably need it if you use Gmail,
because Gmail scans every word of your e-mails to sell ads. But Outlook.com doesn't. And you can choose to opt out of personalised ads. To stop Gmail from using your e-mails, use Outlook.com. Learn more at KeepYourEmailPrivate.com and keep your e-mails
Two complainants challenged whether the ad misleadingly implied that Outlook offered greater privacy than Gmail, because they understood that Outlook also scanned the contents of all e-mails, for purposes other
than targeting ads.
Microsoft Corporation stated their belief that Outlook.com offered greater privacy than Gmail because the latter scanned e-mails for the purpose of targeting ads, whereas Outlook.com only undertook protective
scanning for viruses and spam. They considered that the scanning of e-mails for ad targeting in the Gmail system was a significant privacy issue, particularly as users could not opt-out, and referred to news articles which they believed reflected
concerns of both consumers and regulators.
Microsoft stated that the ad focused on the scanning of e-mails for ad targeting, as this was a key distinguishing feature between Outlook.com and Gmail of which consumers might not be
aware. They referred to a survey conducted on their behalf by a third party that stated that 64% of consumers are unaware that some e-mail providers scan e-mail content in order to target ads, and that 83% considered it an invasion of privacy.
Microsoft said that to not undertake protective scanning of e-mails would be irresponsible. They believed that it was expected, accepted and encouraged by both consumers and government regulators, and that it was an issue of great
importance within the industry. They explained that this protective scanning was not mentioned in the ad because, unlike scanning to target advertising, scanning for viruses and spam was standard practice of which consumers were likely to be aware.
Therefore, they considered that omission of this practice in the ad did not render it misleading. They also highlighted that protective scanning did not involve the collection and retention of consumer data, unlike scanning to target ads. They said that
the superiority claim in the ad was limited to scanning for ad targeting, and that the ad made no claims (whether explicit or implied) that Outlook.com did not use any other form of e-mail scanning.
ASA Assessment: Complaints
We acknowledged that Outlook.com scanned e-mails for viruses and spam messages, and that this was not referred to in the ad. However, we understood that this was standard practice for e-mail providers and considered
that listeners were likely to expect this type of scanning to be carried out as a matter of course. We noted that the ad referred explicitly to Gmail scanning e-mail content for the purposes of targeting ads, and that this reference was immediately
followed by the statement Outlook.com doesn't . We considered that listeners were likely to appreciate that this statement was only in relation to scanning for ad targeting, rather than protective scanning, and that the ad did not state or imply
that no other forms of scanning were utilised. We noted Microsoft's belief that the two types of scanning were different, as targeting required the collation and retention of data whereas protective scanning did not, and considered that the use of
personal data was likely to be a privacy concern for some consumers. Because the ad made clear that the privacy claims were in relation to ad targeting, which Outlook.com does not carry out, we therefore concluded that the ad was not misleading.
Offsite Article: Microsoft: Let's be clear, WE won't read your email -- but the cops will
Amid revelations that the US National Security Agency has the ability for the mass interception of data going between servers and other computers, tech giant Google now says it will encrypt all messages sent through its Gmail email service to restrict
prying eyes from looking at private messages.
In a blog post made by head Gmail security engineer Nicolas Lidzborski, Google said that every time a user checks or sent email, it will be encryped as the data goes to and from Google's servers.
Although Google has given Gmail users the ability to sign into their accouints through an encrypted connection (known as HTTPS) since 2010, Gmail will now automatically default users to the more secure network.
In addition, every single email message you send or receive---100 percent of them---is encrypted while moving internally, the post reads. This ensures that your messages are safe not only when they move between you and
Gmail's servers, but also as they move between Google's data centers---something we made a top priority after last summer's revelations.
However, Google hasn't NSA-proofed Gmail completely. The agency still has the ability to send out
National Security Letters compelling a company to release information. And the federal government hasn't been shy requesting data from Google. In a transparency report , Google said that for the first half of 2013, it received 25,879 requests for user
information from government agencies and courts.
Theresa May summoned internet giant Yahoo to an urgent meeting to raise security concerns after the company announced plans to move to Dublin where it is beyond the reach of Britain's snooping free-for-all.
By making the Irish capital rather than
London the centre of its European, Middle East and Africa operations, Yahoo cannot be forced to hand over information demanded by the police and security agencies through warrants issued under Britain's controversial anti-terror laws.
has had longstanding concerns about securing the privacy of its hundreds of millions of users -- anxieties that have been heightened in recent months by revelations from the whistleblower Edward Snowden. The company said this represented a whole new
level of violation of our users' privacy .
The Guardian reported that it had been told that Charles Farr, the head of the office for security and counter-terrorism (OSCT) within the Home Office, has been pressing May to talk to Yahoo because
of anxiety in Scotland Yard's counter-terrorism command about the effect the move to Dublin could have on their inquiries. A Whitehall source explained:
There are concerns in the Home Office about how Ripa will
apply to Yahoo once it has moved its headquarters to Dublin. The home secretary asked to see officials from Yahoo because in Dublin they don't have equivalent laws to Ripa. This could particularly affect investigations led by Scotland Yard and the
national crime agency. They regard this as a very serious issue.
The move to make Dublin will take effect from Friday.
UK TV censor Colette Bowe has warned of the risks posed by 'smart TVs' could be harvesting personal data about programmes watched, or else using the camera for more invasive spying (perhaps for the police and GCHQ)
Politicians and human rights groups have reacted angrily to revelations that Britain's spy agency disgracefully intercepted and stored webcam images of millions of people with the aid of its US counterpart.
GCHQ files dating between 2008 and 2010
reveal that a surveillance program codenamed Optic Nerve collected images of Yahoo webcam chats in bulk and saved them to agency databases, regardless of whether individual users were an intelligence target or not.
In one six-month period in 2008,
the agency collected webcam images, including substantial quantities of sexually explicit material, from more than 1.8 million Yahoo user accounts globally.
The Optic Nerve documents were provided by the NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. They show
that the programme began as a prototype in 2008 and was still active in 2012.
The Tory MP David Davis said:
We now know that millions of Yahoo account holders were filmed without their knowledge through their
webcams, the images of which were subsequently stored by GCHQ and the NSA . This is, frankly, creepy.
The Liberal Democrat MP Julian Huppert said he was:
Absolutely shocked at the revelation. This
seems like a very clear invasion of privacy , and I simply can not see what the justification is.
Nick Pickles, the director of the civil liberties campaign group Big Brother Watch, said intercepting and taking photographs from
millions of people's webcam chats was as creepy as it gets .
We have CCTV on our streets and now we have GCHQ in our homes. It is right that the security services can target people and tap their communications,
but they should not be doing it to millions of people. This is an indiscriminate and intimate intrusion on people's privacy.
Authorities in the southern Chinese province of Guangdong have announced an impending three month-long anti-prostitution campaign, after a television expose in Dongguan prompted an oppressive raid.
The expose' and heavy-handed response have proved
surprisingly controversial in China , where prostitution is technically illegal but practically ubiquitous. Internet users and human rights groups have criticised authorities for shaming and intimidating female sex workers rather than offering them help.
The UN estimates that four to six million women work in the country's sex industry nationwide, many of them in brothels thinly disguised as hair salons, massage parlours and karaoke bars.
In the expose, aired by state broadcaster CCTV,
undercover reporters visited a range of upscale hotels and karaoke bars in the city of Dongguan, known as a prostitution hot spot. In one segment, a reporter enters a room divided by one-way glass; on the other side, two scantily-clad women dance
provocatively to a Lady Gaga song. A venue employee identifies them by their numbers, prices, and hometowns.
The city responded to the broadcast by dispatching 6,525 police officers in a raid. They arrested 67 people and closed 12 entertainment
venues. Pictures posted online showed lines of men and women kneeling on the floor in the middle of a hotel lobby, their heads down and their hands cuffed, surrounded by scores of uniformed police.
Guangdong authorities will now launch a
three-month, province-wide crackdown on prostitution. Local police officers who are found protecting the sex industry or who organise sexual services will be severely punished, said Li Chunsheng, the province's vice-governor.
In addition to
a news feature on China Central Television about the corruption of the sex industry in Dongguan, the official Sina Weibo published an eight-hour population in-flow and out-flow map of Donguan city, which has been interpreted as the escape path of prostitutes
and prostitution clients during the crackdown. Generated by Baidu Qianxi with data from Baidu map, the map indicated that most people fleeing the crackdown escaped to Hong Kong.
Originally, Baidu Qianxi was designed as a
visualization tool that could map population flows during the Chinese Lunar New Year. But as Luo Changping at Letscorp pointed out [zh], the fact that Baidu Qianxi was able to appropriate the data surrounding the prostitution crackdown suggests that
authorities are using mass surveillance to track these patterns, rather than only targeting criminal suspects, and thereby violating the personal privacy of untold numbers of citizens.
The use of geolocation tracking technology in this crackdown
by the party propaganda authority indicates to the public that the police authority, through Baidu and other mobile application developers, is capable of tracking mobile phones and thus the real identity of individuals, as nearly all mobile numbers are
linked with the owner's identity card. In reaction to this threat, many Hong Kong netizens said that they planned to shut down their mobile when traveling in China.
The Chinese government has sacked the police chief of Dongguan following a report by the main state broadcaster, China Central Television (CCTV), on the
underground sex industry there, the Xinhua news agency has reported.
Yan Xiaokang, who was also Dongguan's vice mayor, was removed from his posts for dereliction of duty, Xinhua said, quoting Communist party officials in Guangdong province.
Yan's dereliction of duty led to the persistent illegal sex trade in Dongguan, which has reflected very badly on the city, both domestically and internationally, Xinhua reported, citing a party statement. It added that another seven Dongguan
officials were also sacked in relation to the case.
The Snowden revelations have confirmed our worst fears about online spying. They show that the NSA and its allies have been building a global
surveillance infrastructure to "master the internet" and spy on the world's communications. These shady groups have undermined basic encryption standards, and riddled the Internet's backbone with surveillance equipment. They have collected the
phone records of hundreds of millions of people none of whom are suspected of any crime. They have swept up the electronic communications of millions of people at home and overseas indiscriminately, exploiting the digital technologies we use to connect
and inform. They spy on the population of allies, and share that data with other organizations, all outside the rule of law.
We aren't going to let the NSA and its allies ruin the Internet. Inspired by the memory of Aaron Swartz,
fueled by our victory against SOPA and ACTA, the global digital rights community are uniting to fight back.
On February 11, on the Day We Fight Back, the world will demand an end to mass surveillance in every country, by every
state, regardless of boundaries or politics. The SOPA and ACTA protests were successful because we all took part, as a community. As Aaron Swartz put it, everybody "made themselves the hero of their own story." We can set a date, but we need
everyone, all the users of the Global Internet, to make this a movement.
Here's part of our plan (but it's just the beginning). Last year, before Ed Snowden had spoken to the world, digital rights activists united on
13 Principles . The Principles spelled out just why mass surveillance was a violation of human rights, and gave sympathetic lawmakers and judges a list of fixes
they could apply to the lawless Internet spooks. On the day we fight back, we want the world to sign onto those principles. We want politicians to pledge to uphold them. We want the world to see we care.
Here's how you can join
1. We're encouraging websites to point to the Day We Fight Back website, which will allow people from around the world to sign onto our 13 Principles, and fight back against mass surveillance by the
NSA, GCHQ, and other intelligence agencies. If you can let your colleagues know about the campaign and the website ( thedaywefightback.org ) before the day, we can send
them information on the campaign in each country.
2. Tell your friends to sign the 13 Principles! We will be revamping our global action center at
en.necessaryandproportionate.org/take-action to align ourselves with the day of action. We'll continue to use the Principles to show world leaders that
privacy is a human right and should be protected regardless of frontiers.
3. Email: If you need an excuse to contact your members or colleagues about this topic, February 11th is the perfect time to tell them to contact local
politicians about Internet spying, encourage them to take their own actions and understand the importance of fighting against mass surveillance.
4. Social media: Tweet! Post on Facebook and Google Plus! We want to make as big of a
splash as possible. We want this to be a truly global campaign, with every country involved. The more people are signing the Principles, the more world leaders will hear our demands to put a stop to mass spying at home and overseas.
5. Tools: Develop memes, tools, websites, and do whatever else you can to encourage others to participate.
6. Be creative: plan your own actions and pledge. Take to the streets. Promote the Principles in your
own country. Then, let us know what your plan is, so we can link and re-broadcast your efforts.
All 6 (or more!) would be great, but honestly the movement benefits from everything you do.
In two tense meetings last June and July the cabinet secretary, Jeremy Heywood, explicitly warned the Guardian's editor, Alan Rusbridger, to return the Snowden documents.
Heywood, sent personally by David Cameron, told the
editor to stop publishing articles based on leaked material from American's National Security Agency and GCHQ . At one point Heywood said: "We can do this nicely or we can go to
law". He added: "A lot of people in government think you should be closed down."
With the threat of punitive legal action ever present, the only way of protecting the Guardian's team --
and of carrying on reporting from another jurisdiction -- was for the paper to destroy its own computers. GCHQ officials wanted to inspect the material before destruction, carry out the operation themselves and take the remnants away. The Guardian
refused [and did the job themselves].
The Guardian reveals mass that state snoops have a programme
of mass interception and analysis of people's phone messages:
The National Security Agency has collected almost 200 million text messages a day from across the globe, using them to extract data including location, contact networks and credit card details, according to top-secret documents.
The untargeted collection and storage of SMS messages -- including their contacts -- is revealed in a joint investigation between the Guardian and the UK's Channel 4 News based on material provided by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.
The documents also reveal the UK spy agency GCHQ has made use of the NSA database to search the metadata of untargeted and unwarranted communications belonging to people in the UK.
The NSA program,
codenamed Dishfire, collects pretty much everything it can , according to GCHQ documents, rather than merely storing the communications of existing surveillance targets.
The NSA has made extensive use of its vast text
message database to extract information on people's travel plans, contact books, financial transactions and more -- including of individuals under no suspicion of illegal activity.
Big Brother Watch responds with some pertinent questions:
Today's Guardian newspaper carries an alarming report about an NSA database of text messages, including those sent by British people. While messages belonging to US citizens are deleted, those belonging to British citizens are not.
First we need to know how the NSA was able to get access to UK telephone networks and scoop up millions of our texts. Then we need to know who authorised it and why they decided to hand over the private messages of people under no
suspicion whatsoever to the Americans without any public or Parliamentary debate.
If an interception warrant for an individual is not in place, it is illegal to look at the content of a message. Descriptions of content derived
metadata suggest the content of texts is being collected and inspected in bulk and if this is the case GCHQ has serious questions to answer about whether it is operating under a perverse interpretation of the law cooked up in secret.
The telecoms companies providing our mobile phone services need to urgently reassure their customers that they are not handing over our data in bulk to the UK or US governments. GCHQ should not be using foreign agencies to get around
The European Parliament has wrapped up its inquiry into mass surveillance. In a draft report, politicians are being hard on all sides - the US government, the NSA, but also on hesitant EU governments and companies.
The report says that the recent
revelations in the press by whistleblowers and journalists, together with the expert evidence given during the inquiry, have resulted in:
Compelling evidence of the existence of far-reaching, complex and highly
technologically advanced systems designed by US and some Member States' intelligence services to collect, store and analyze communication and location data and metadata of all citizens around the world on an unprecedented scale and in an indiscriminate
and non-suspicion-based manner.
The authors explicitly point at Britain's signals intelligence agency GCHQ and its upstream surveillance activity (Tempora program) as well as decryption program (Edgehill), and add that it's quite
likely that programs of a similar nature as the NSA's and GCHQ's exist - even if on a more limited scale - in countries like France, Germany and Sweden:
The fight against terrorism can never in itself be a
justification for untargeted, secret and sometimes even illegal mass surveillance programs.
Claude Moraes and his fellow rapporteurs showed themselves unconvinced that the NSA's only goal is the fight against terrorism, as the US
government has claimed. In their draft report, European politicians suspect that there are instead other power motives, such as political and economic espionage.
Moraes wrote that privacy is not a luxury right, but the ...
foundation stone of a free and democratic society. Above all, the draft report condemns the vast, systemic, blanket collection of the personal data of innocent people.