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Doug's Mailbag: Microsoft Knows All?

Here are some reader comments on how much personal information Microsoft actually knows about customers:

I'll guarantee you that Microsoft knows LESS about you than your local grocer does. (And the grocer doesn't even pretend to protect your privacy.) All over America, people sign up for "discount" cards in exchange for personal information (essentially, buying habits). We give out our snail-mail addresses as quickly as we give out our e-mail addresses and our cell phone numbers.

Microsoft knows exactly what we allow them to know when we agree to share system performance information. When we sign up for newsletters. When we connect ourselves perpetually to the Internet. When we don't use AV software, spyware detectors, firewalls or routers to isolate our computers from the Internet. We don't even use common sense when using e-mail or the Web.

The federal government created the HPPA laws to protect our privacy, and the first thing our doctors do is ask us to sign a waiver to release them from these privacy restrictions.

Our kids put every aspect of their lives on Facebook and then get upset when their parents, teachers or (prospective) employers look them up.

If you don't want to share information, then don't. But, don't demonize those entities with which you DO share personal information.

That's my two cents.
-Marc

Interesting idea, Doug. We will let the people who are gathering the information about us tell us what they have. They would never lie would they? As if any manager at Microsoft or Google knows what his people are doing every minute. The reality is, we should all be actively engaged in lying to the data gatherers so they do not know what to believe.  Since you have surrendered your life to people you do not know, you should simply quit worrying about it. It is already too late.
-Anonymous

Am I becoming a Redmond fanboy and, therefore, missing what Microsoft is up to? Or is it really concerned about your privacy?

Maybe a little of both...
-Vicke

Share your thoughts with the editors of this newsletter! Write to dbarney@redmondmag.com. Letters printed in this newsletter may be edited for length and clarity, and will be credited by first name only (we do NOT print last names or e-mail addresses).

Posted by Doug Barney on July 26, 2010 at 11:53 AM


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