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Microsoft updates privacy policies with promise of no targeted advertising

12 Jun 2014
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Microsoft has updated its user agreements to clarify how it stores and uses customer data, with a clear effort to position itself in a different light to rival Google.

The company explained that the new user privacy agreement makes it plain it does not use stored content as fuel for targeted adverts.

"One of the things we are very focused on at Microsoft is making sure people have a great experience across all of our apps and services," said Ryan Gavin, general manager for search, cloud and content at Microsoft, in a blog post.

Users should expect better privacy and transparency, according to Gavin, and will not find that their stored and sent documents, images and messages are used for the purpose of targeted adverts.

"As part of our ongoing commitment to respecting your privacy, we have updated the Microsoft Services Agreement to state that we do not use what you say in email, chat, video calls, or voice mail to target advertising to you," he said.

"Nor do we use your documents, photos, or other personal files to target advertising to you."

He added that, as well as promising not to use content for adverts, Microsoft will also change the privacy statements across its web offerings so that each has its own coverage and rules.

"We tailor our privacy statements for each product, and organise content for consistency so people can easily find it," he added.

"This includes a new Windows Services Privacy Statement that covers Microsoft account, Outlook.com and OneDrive."

The updated agreement comes into action at the end of July, and Microsoft will email users to advise them of the changes.

The move is an ongoing effort by Microsoft to position itself as a different firm to Google, which does use user data to promote tailored advertising, something Microsoft has criticised Google over before.

Earlier this week Microsoft attempted to resist US data requests from its Ireland-stored customer cloud content.

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Dave Neal
About

Dave Neal is a reporter at The INQUIRER. Previously he worked at V3.co.uk, VNUnet, and IT Week in editor and journalist roles.

He started his career when the Y2K bug was a front page story and remains committed to covering the interesting world of technology news.

He left the world of office working four years ago and now represents The INQUIRER from home in Kent with his dog.

Dave has been quoted in papers including the London Metro.

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