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Groups Call For Investigation of MS Ad Service 64

narramissic writes, "The Center for Digital Democracy and the U.S. Public Interest Research Group have filed a complaint with the FTC, asking for an investigation into Microsoft's use of customer data collection in its adCenter Web advertising service. The groups claim that 'Microsoft has embarked on a wide-ranging data collection and targeting scheme that is deceptive and unfair to millions of users.' Microsoft, for its part, says the groups 'have got it all wrong.'"
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Groups Call For Investigation of MS Ad Service

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  • That was about contentless, other than blatant MS bashing.

    Well, we had older things like the mm2048 and mm256 garbage with Win98 and Win95, along with the NSAkey. The difference is there WAS PROOF.

    Where's the proof MS is at it again?
    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      That was about contentless, other than blatant MS bashing.

      Just like Slashdot.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        Please. There's a very vocal minority who despises Microsoft and those who support them.

        I remember the time when Slashdot was Taco's project. He opened the stats to this place, and lo and behold it represented standard traffic patterns. The supposed "linux lovers" were really Windows haters who didn't know how to make Linux usable. If anything, when slashdot was bought, those traffic patterns were removed, so that we cant see that embarrassment.

        Aside from that loud minority, most people here are sane, scien
        • Aside from that loud minority, most people here are sane, science-loving people.

          Actually, that does not appear to be true, either. I have seen a number of ppl here who are pushing ID (creationism) and the same ppl are claiming that global warming is a myth. That is a large group of ppl here who ignore logic and science. And I am not convinced that they are a minority.

          • "and the same ppl are claiming that global warming is a myth."

            OT, but... Actually, global warming could be a myth, and I'm not one to believe in ID or any of that silly superstitious crap. The reason it may be a myth is simple: volcanoes. Each one puts out more pollution in a day than we can possibly put out in our lifetimes, IIRC, and when the major content of that pollution is sulfur dioxide, it changes to sulfuric acid when it hits moisture, which creates a COOLING effect because H2SO4 acts as a mirro
            • ....and lets face it, the population of the world has grown substantially since the 18th century, and hiring enough pirates to equal the per capita ratio of pirates to non-pirates in an attempt to resolve global warning would be very very costly.... we can just use some of those old, useless nukes and blow the shit out of a magma cap on some unnecessary hunk of rock out in the Pacific ocean. Just blowing the crap out of the cap on one of those volcanoes should do the trick. Maybe at a rate of one volcano
        • it would be interesting to see the stats now,

          I think the use of linux is going up, I expect on a site like slashdot the percentage would be higher than the general population much like firefox.

          I'd expect a fair number of Vista users too for much the same reasons.

        • by Valdrax ( 32670 )
          The supposed "linux lovers" were really Windows haters who didn't know how to make Linux usable.

          Or, they were people who primarily surfed Slashdot when slacking off at work where they had no control over the OS of their machine and who did other things in the evening when they were on their home machines.
    • The largest percentage of people who browse the internet use Internet Explorer. Every time you type in a URL but don't type in "http:// in front of the address, you are doing a search. It will take you right to the website but you have also told MS where you are browsing.

      The default setting for IE is to search from the Address Bar. You have to manually change it to "Do not search...". What generic user is going to do that? The default search is microsoft.com and about the only reason that it would be chan
  • by ScentCone ( 795499 ) on Wednesday November 01, 2006 @08:17PM (#16682493)
    I think I'll go off to Google and look up 'eye rolling' to see what friendly vendors might chime in on an organic supplement I might purchase. And if I get any e-mail from my friends on the subject via my gmail box, I'm sure a slightly more targeted ad will help me out even further.

    And, if I forget to pursue this until next month, I think I can be comfortable knowing that since Google knows everything, they'll still be there to help me out.

    *eyes roll all the way around, back to slashdot*

    Doesn't matter! Sue Microsoft! Investigate!
    • I don't put any particularly sensitive info on GMail or Live Mail, because I know it will be monitored. On the other hand, advertising does help keep a lot of web pages and services (like webmail) free. I'm not going to bitch if, in a discussion of stocks, Google (or MS) finds I'm more likely to click on one online stock broker than another. I'm even LESS likely to bitch if they then post a link to that broker prominently when I search something stock-related, rather than prominently posting some other brok
    • I think that the difference is supposed to be that Google collects info only about the page you're visiting, while Microsoft are tracking individual users. That's my impression of this anyway.
    • by peterfa ( 941523 )
      Eat carrots.
  • I'm safe from identity theft. I took all of my ID, and locked it in my luggage I bought off of eBay using Linux. Then I wrapped the suit case in tin foil, and placed it in a secret location (under my bed). If Microsoft wants to get my identity, they'll have to find the suitcase and know my secret 5 digit password...
  • Do they have an Ad service? 'cough'
  • by cbhacking ( 979169 ) <.moc.oohay. .ta. ... isiurc_tuo_neeb.> on Wednesday November 01, 2006 @08:24PM (#16682577) Homepage Journal
    Question: Did these groups say anything about Google's AdSense?

    Honestly, anybody who looks at those targeted ads must realize that information is being harvested to create them. You know what? Good for them! I'd MUCH rather have a service that finds ads of companies I'm interested in than one which either:

    1) Slaps up random ads to dating sites, unrelated services also provided by the host company who's service I'm using, etc.

    2) Charges me even slightly to offset costs of data storage, server maintenance, R&D, bandwidth, etc.
    • I use Adsense and as far as I have been able to notice it gathers information from the website's content, not the user's browsing habits per se.
      • I'm backing-up this one, because search-engine optimization is part of my business.

        AdSense is a relational database of web sites and their categories (ebusiness, community, retail, travel, etc.) that only tracks behaviors by "clicks" visitors take -->through--> AdSense [google.com]

        If you don't click on a Google ad, then nothing is recorded at Google.

        The part about IP address tracking is also true; you can't easily hide your IP, nor would you want to. (But it's a real good way to get the Feds to watch you...

    • by kjart ( 941720 )

      Question: Did these groups say anything about Google's AdSense?

      Didn't see any mention of them in the article. I'd imagine this is one of two things:

      1) FUD - pure and simple: "Oh no, Microsoft steals our personal data!"
      2) Since Microsoft is the smaller player in the market, and attacking them is also so much more acceptable, they might just be going after Microsoft first to get more people on board. I'd imagine it would be much easier to stir up support for your agenda if it's anti-Microsoft than if it

      • by Pofy ( 471469 )
        >Didn't see any mention of them in the article. I'd imagine this is one of two things:

        Actually there was a whole paragraph about it:

        "Chester called online data collection "pervasive and ubiquitous" and said the two groups focused first on Microsoft because it has told potential advertisers its data collection techniques are better than those used by rivals such as Google Inc. and Yahoo Inc."

    • Honestly, anybody who looks at those targeted ads must realize that information is being harvested to create them.

      The other day I was on some site with google ads and the advertisment was trying to sell me something like bike shops in Melbourne, Australia which is scary because I do live in that city and I do buy a lot from bike shops but the site I was browsing had nothing to do with that.

      • I can't explain the bike reference, but the fact that your location has been revealed is quite easy. It's your IP address. I often get ads targeted to my region and they are not ad-words. It is, however, definitely the IP. When I'm at home "Luxembourg" shows up. I used to work for a company that had a huge intranet and their Internet connection was in the UK. When I surfed on that network, the ads were definitely targeted to UK surfers (which was odd, because I was in Luxembourg). Last week, I was in

  • They have it all wrong, it was the one armed man!
  • The group is calling for an investigation of Online Advertising and Consumer Tracking and Targeting Practices http://http//www.democraticmedia.org/issues/privac y/FTCprivacypr.html/ [http]. It isnt just focusing on M$ but others as well. Hmmmm people see M$ and the blinkers go on I guess.
    • by Jeian ( 409916 )
      If it hadn't bashed Microsoft, it wouldn't have made Slashdot.
    • by rtb61 ( 674572 )
      What is even weirder is the microsofties see M$ and somehow it is slashdot's fault and all those biased slashdotters picking on M$ yet again. The microtrolls seem to blame /.ers for everything that goes wrong at M$. Why can't they understand that most people neither hate nor like M$, they how ever do hate some or M$'s corporate practices and voice their opinions on those practices, even when it disagrees with the M$ corporate marketing strategy (yeah I know, those naughty consumers, they are just meant to b
  • by Statecraftsman ( 718862 ) * on Wednesday November 01, 2006 @08:33PM (#16682705) Homepage
    I would like to opt-in with one condition. MS should be limited to using only piecharts and spreadsheets on my data. No pivot tables, histograms, or Crystal Reports will be allowed to process my usage information.

    I only like my data abused in certain ways for free. If they want to pay for the use of my data with the more powerful tools, I may decide to license them that right. They can call me and we'll negotiate an EULA.
  • *waves hand

    that isn't the collected data you are looking for
  • Google. Well actually, the truth is Google collects far more information and is much better at it.

    The real difference is that MS is telling people what they are collecting and how they use it and Google doesn't. Yahoo is awfully quite on the subject too!

  • Justice will be served, just leave it to the lawyers! Valiant "civic minded" lawyers will take up this incredibly important cause. In 9 months, 17 million people will get a confusing letter in the snail mail, explaining in the fine print that they get a free coupon for 3 blank CDs and a check for $3.12, in return for waiving their rights to sue Microsoft themselves. The lawyers will make $378,000 each for their valiant efforts.
    • by Panaqqa ( 927615 )
      Only $378,000 each? C'mon, when the dust settles on this type of stuff, we know that $378,000 per lawyer won't even be close to the actual legal fees. Try adding at least one "0" to that figure. "We must prevent the proceeds of this lawsuit from being frittered away on the Plaintiffs."
  • considering all the advertising Yahoo, Google, and any other advertising agency that uses the internet, plus all the advertising that gets spewed on Television and Radio, billboards on the side of the road, and all other advertising i missed mentioning, microsoft is just another pig in the poke looking to shove its hungry snout in to the swill...

    __all advertising sucks, if i need something i will let you know, until then = STFU!
  • ...someone has filed a complaint against Microsoft. News at 11.
  • What does Microsoft do that Yahoo, AOL, and Google haven't been doing for their search/advertising for years now?
  • by pcause ( 209643 ) on Wednesday November 01, 2006 @11:05PM (#16684007)
    The recent AOL data leak showed that as big or bigger threats can come from our search data. These folks are grandstanding by going after Microsoft and not the other players. They know that no one will criticize them for bashing Microsoft and that others, like Google have better press and have folled more users, and so are tougher targets. Also, as opposed to Google, Microsoft is more sensitive to the criticism because of the past anti-trust issues and are more likely to respond. Google's response to people like content owners who don't like Google's use of their copyrighted materials without permission, have found that Google's reaction is to claim they are doing public good and then fight in court.

    The best example of the threat we face to our privacy from all of these folks is Google. Not Google bashing, just pointing out that they are collecting the most data about us. Google is also collecting more of our use and web patterns through Google desktop and toolbar. Add in the fact that they have your cell number, are indexing your email, have your calendar, etc. Our only protection is they sya that their culture is to "do no evil", but we don't know who defines "evil" and what that definition is. What if the Chinese government wants the data? Will Google provide it so they can stay in the market? They caved on filtering.

    Whether is is Microsoft, Google, Yahoo or someone else, the more we are online the more we are telling third parties about us and we have no protections about what they do with the data. These folks all have "terms of use" and simply by using their services you've agreed to them, even if you didn't actually read the terms (almost no one does and most don't even see the link). And if you read the TOS you are pretty unlikely to know what they collect and what they do with it.

    Good that the discussion is starting, but wrong target. It is really the whole lot of these guys

    • Talk about FUD! Except this goes upwards into sheer paranoia.

      Google's response to people like content owners who don't like Google's use of their copyrighted materials without permission, have found that Google's reaction is to claim they are doing public good and then fight in court.

      Can you tell me how Google makes a profit from conveying the copyrighted materials? They don't sell any of the photos or videos that come-up in a search. They do that for free. Without a profit-motive, it's very hard for an

  • Which is why nobody should use their real name when filling in the customer information papers.
    It's another great reason why nobody should use their real name on msn.

    If you don't want to be used by businesses, don't give them more than they need;
    and remember, you decide what they need, they don't.
    Don't let yourself be used.

    here it gets a bit repetative, for the sake of knocking common sense into some people:
    don't let them use you!

    I know, I'm preaching to the choir :P but this isn't even common sense with al

"This is lemma 1.1. We start a new chapter so the numbers all go back to one." -- Prof. Seager, C&O 351