back to article Microsoft: Worried about web privacy? Tell us everything...

Microsoft has launched a drive to stop people splurging their personal information all over the internet - by asking them to splurge their personal information all over the internet. As well as series of telly commercials, Microsoft have designed a special questionnaire designed to discover whether visitors are “carefree surfers …

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Meh

Re: Two Faced MS

They all want the minutiae of your lives because they want to own you.

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N2

Re: Two Faced MS

Yes, but we all knew that about 20 years ago.

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Re: Two Faced MS

"They all want the minutiae of your lives because they want to own you."

There's a direct competition to see who gets to own the entirety of computer using persons on the Earth between Microsoft and Google.

So far, it's close to a tie, with Google with a slight lead.

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Windows

By Wintards, for Wintards

"Like IE? Yes?

You'll love this survey then!"

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Facepalm

All your Life are belong to us

"In a blog post, Ryan Gavin, Windows general manager, wrote: “Very few of us believe that sharing some personal data online is a bad thing. It’s part of our everyday routines to fill out profiles, login to sites, and oftentimes provide personal information like our credit card or phone numbers in order to take advantage of all the web has to offer. In fact, the more personal and relevant the web gets, the better it can get."

This mindset is exactly why you should never put personal info on the internet.

If unable to do that, put as little possible.

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I Don't Understand

Why does getting your IP address negate the 'personal information' bit? I was under the impression that a visitors IP address was generally captured anyway...

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Re: I Don't Understand

Your Ip can be used to pinpoint you anywhere geographically. MS really should not have that info. If they wanted they could have created a hash from the IP+time of access and that would still have given them a very very unique number for their database without having the geographical info.

Bunch of hypocrites, as always.

"Hey we'll enable DNT in IE by default even if our sites don't abide by it. We'll get more data than the suckers that do. Mwahahaha!"

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Re: I Don't Understand

Actually DNT is more about cookies tracking your activity. I guess you've never looked at a web server log to see whats actually in there.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I Don't Understand

"Your Ip can be used to pinpoint you anywhere geographically."

By pinpoint, I assume you mean a county sized pinpoint, since I'm not even within 100 miles of Sheffield where my IP locates to. You couldn't even hit me with a nuke* if you aimed for my IP's location.

*I'll give you radiation poisoning if you get the winds right, but I don't consider that a direct hit.

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Coat

Re: I Don't Understand

"...Sheffield where my IP locates to."

You are apparently well fit for Microsoft's survey :-)

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Re: I Don't Understand

"By pinpoint, I assume you mean a county sized pinpoint, since I'm not even within 100 miles of Sheffield where my IP locates to. You couldn't even hit me with a nuke* if you aimed for my IP's location."

Same here, mine comes out to either West Chester, PA or Media, PA.

A nuke going off in either would barely be noticed, save if the winds are right and I get a whiff of stink from burning excrement that we call county leadership.

And I'm quite fit to not bother with Mickeysoft's survey. I know better than give any information beyond a serial number and my clients company name during the online registration BS.

But, knowing two towns that are 20 miles or more away from me doesn't locate this wizard's wand very well, let alone myself, my home or my town. You only know my county and state in the Occasionally United States of America.

Or is that the Rarely United States of America...? Disjointed States of America?

I can insult my own country if I want. You can't, unless it's funny. ;)

Along the lines of, "God save the Queen! From her get..."

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Re: I Don't Understand

Close only counts in horseshoes, handgrenades, and H-bombs.

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Anonymous Coward

How two faced of them

They have a holding in Facebook.

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Re: How two faced of them

Bleh. Facebook knows my real name and town. They also know my gargoyle face, which is more than sufficient to frighten them away.

They also know a lot more about my wife, my daughters, my grandchildren, my cousins and a few aunts and uncles.

Me, they know only what I chose to tell them, such as SOME locations I was deployed to and used their service to see my family and later, my grandchild (only one was born while I was deployed). They also know that I'm a veteran and retired from such lunacy as military service.

That's it. Other than some friends I was deployed with, some contractors and so many foreign folks as to confuse even the CIA and NSA.

For the two agencies, they know me well enough, my real name, home, what I'm doing this minute and what I'm wearing (OK, not really, but tongue in cheek) and that my clearance was multiple letters, with alphabet soup after the primary clearance.

Which means that they know me well enough to know I'm even less exciting than Arthur Dent.

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WTF?

>> In a blog post, Ryan Gavin, Windows general manager, wrote: “Very few of us believe that sharing some personal data online is a bad thing. It’s part of our everyday routines to fill out profiles, login to sites, and oftentimes provide personal information like our credit card or phone numbers in order to take advantage of all the web has to offer. In fact, the more personal and relevant the web gets, the better it can get.

In a comment on the Register, I wrote: "There are a lot of idiots out there who willingly fork over virtually everything you could ever want to know about them (but never needed to or wanted to know about them), typically more than enough to be able to hijack (and empty) their bank account etc. In fact the more places you provide that information, the better it is because it corroborates the first source. If a site asks for your date of birth and it has no valid reason, give it one but not yours... if it asks for your mother's maiden name - pick a friend of yours and use their mother's maiden name..."

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Hmm, did I make a mistake in filling in my mother's maiden name as "Bob" or "Elizabeth"? Didn't have a marker for the II...

Fill it out with fictitious information, but keep track of it.

Gotta jet. Just heard two helicopters pass overhead at mid-high RPM's and heavy collective. Something's going on in the city or close to it.

They normally don't up the RPM's and collective that much.

Though, even money, it'll be a case of someone telling the police, "I am a bum" and they thought he said "I am a bomb"...

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Pint

My dog thinks he's a person ...

so I filled out the MiriclSoft questionaire on his behalf ... he also insisted that it be encrypted with ROT-13 ... doggoned clever of 'im, I'd say!

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Re: My dog thinks he's a person ...

Shouldn't he have used RUH-ROH-13?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: My dog thinks he's a person ...

Of course thats ROT-91 in human years.

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Methinks Yes, IT most Certainly Does and Can with Definite Vision Following Leads

If you Share All of your Interests in Life and LOVE Online can IT make them Better for Real?

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Re: Methinks Yes, IT most Certainly Does and Can with Definite Vision Following Leads

Erm, no.

TMI.

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Part of a larger play

This is part of a much larger play in a long-term strategic marketing war against Google. The goal here is to gain some insight in to the best buttons to push when trying to paint Google as a privacy-violating cyber-fiend out to stomp on your puppies and steal your wife. When you can't market on merit, viciously attack the other guy with as many falsities and carefully manipulated half-truths as possible!

How very...American. Next up: did you know that the Sentaor for Internetistan is SOFT ON CRIME? It's true, they voted down this bill that would have STOPPED CRIMINALS COLD[1]. Can you afford to elect them? Vote Douchebagus Maximus for cyber-overlord today!

[1]Would have stripped everyone of anything resembling civil liberties, but ignore that he's SOFT ON CRIME.

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Re: Part of a larger play

You think? This could backfire rather violently as Microsoft is just as bad or even worse than Google when it comes to privacy, but nobody seems to notice or care.

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Re: Part of a larger play

Six of one, half dozen of the other.

At the end of the day, the luser will give away their own children to get some fictional discount or something. :(

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And... I use noscript - so must "temporarily allow" to even take the survey

Another reason I'm a big fan of NoScript for Firefox.

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people don't value privacy

They may say they do, but ask the question another way the answer often changes. There was a survey/study(?) a while back that placed the value people have on their privacy at something along the size of the price of a candy bar? I'm not sure where I'd value my own data but it would be really high.

Myself I felt fairly alarmed that when I configured my car loan to be accessible on line(same company that I get car insurance/home owners insurance from) they asked me to verify myself by asking questions like how old is my sister, what month my mother was born in (multiple choice answers) -- data I have obviously not ever submitted to them (nor are either of them customers of that company). I suppose it should not surprise me that they can associate this kind of thing but it still does.

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Windows

Has anyone (including author) ever read their policies?

First I have to strongly disagree with the authors accusations that Microsoft is "contradicting their own statement" when it comes to privacy, simply because they make it known that they collect information such as an IP address and the time and date you enter the survey.

Because anyone who has a little bit of understanding how this whole thing actually works will know that nearly every frickin' website out there does exactly the same thing. How do you think people generate website statistics? Well, usually by letting programs such Webaliazer or AWStats go over the logfile(s) of the webserver. Any idea what you can find in there? More than merely an IP address and date and time I can tell you that; you'll also see what browser people are using, you can roughly deduct their geographical location, check the time/date and even determine what OS is being used.

The main difference as I see it is that Microsoft makes this clearly known, and then you "attack" them over it, how stupid is that?

Honestly; have you ever read any of their usage policies for some of their websites? (TechNet, MSDN, Codeplex, and / or ASP.NET)?

I think you'll be surprised.

For example; just go to codeplex.com, click the 'terms of use' link you see at the bottom. There you'll find a clear and short description of how to behave on that website. What happens to any stuff you upload to them ("Microsoft does not claim ownership of the materials you provide to Microsoft (including feedback and suggestions regarding Codeplex or other Microsoft material posted on the site) or post, upload, input or submit to any Services or its associated services for review by the general public, or by the members of any public or private community, (each a "Submission" and collectively "Submissions").") but also clear rules as to what they might do when they find out you're trying to harvest information yourself.

A terms of use which starts, at the top, with "PRIVACY AND PROTECTION OF PERSONAL INFORMATION" and a direct reference to their privacy statement ?

There are 3 times when Microsoft may disclose information about Codeplex visitors and its also very easy to find when:

  • comply with the law or respond to lawful requests or legal process
  • protect the rights or property of Microsoft or our customers, including the enforcement of our agreements or policies governing your use of the services
  • act on a good faith belief that such access or disclosure is necessary to protect the personal safety of Microsoft employees, customers, or the public.

Now, I'm not saying we shouldn't be critical here. But I am saying that compared to some of the other companies out there Microsoft is in my opinion the least intrusive when it comes to privacy concerns. Of course I fully agree if you now raise the other possibility: "Or they simply haven't been caught yet like Google has".

True. But here's the major difference: should they get "caught" then their legal disclaimers and documents give you an awefull lot of ground to sue their asses off. While "other company" disclaimers are usually very vague when you over them; they usually always end the same: the company in question cannot be directly held accountable for....

These privacy statements are completely different. They don't make (contradicting) open claims, they make solid promises.

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Re: Has anyone (including author) ever read their policies?

ShelLuser thank you for the voice of reason. Isn't it odd how a company that does more than most to protect the privacy of its customers is the one that gets painted as the big bad wolf by the media? Even when MS try to do something that helps distinguish them as a company that cares about privacy we see articles posted on various news sites applying some 'spin' to make it sound like MS are doing something bad.

And the masses lap it up as gospel truth without even bothering to look at it objectively...

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Devil

The cloud is spongy

How's it going with EULA court stuff and if a business uses the cloud and you then sell your shares for that business early how could it be proven you didn't know anything, mister cloudy?? So many questions...

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Evercookies

I filled in their quiz and then quit my browser, taking my usual fairly stringent security and privacy precautions.

Turns out the scamps had planted an evercookie on my computer.

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Unhappy

Flawed Survey

I wanted to show how little I'm happy to share by not answering any of the questions, but it wouldn't let me.

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Re: Flawed Survey

I showed how little I'm happy to share by not bothering to click on the link then moaning about it in El Reg comments. Do you think that counts?

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Re: Flawed Survey

Hmm I don't think so. Mind you, I don't think my effort counts either, unless they register a premature exit as 'having misgivings about it'.

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FAIL

FAIL

Doesn't work with Javascript disabled. And the site wanted to set a web tracking cookie from 2o7.net.

I was prepared to play for amusement but the start button would not work without Javascript.

That was amusement enough, I closed the tab.

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Meh

Corrections and Clarifications Column...

In a recent quote we unfortunately omitted a few words:-

The phrase :-

"This information is used to help improve the survey, analyze trends, and administer the survey."

should have read

"This information is used to help improve the survey, analyze trends, administer the survey and improve our bottom line by flogging your data."

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Boffin

Microsoft: Worried about web privacy?

Microsoft aren't worried about your privacy.

They enabled WPAD by default in IE, allowing your Windows machine to be compromised on a whim.

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