Don't Get Scroogled by Gmail

Wed Feb 6, 2013 10:16pm EST

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For best results when printing this announcement, please click on the link
below: launches campaign to educate consumers that Google goes through
their personal emails to sell ads.
REDMOND, Wash.,  Feb. 6, 2013  /PRNewswire/ -- Today,  launched
Don't Get Scroogled by Gmail, a national campaign at 
to educate Americans about Google's practice of going through the contents of
all Gmail emails to sell and target ads. According to a public  GfK Roper study,
commissioned by Microsoft Corp., 70 percent of consumers don't know that major
email providers routinely engage in the practice of reading through their
personal email to sell ads - something that 88 percent of people disapprove of
once they are informed. Unlike Gmail, doesn't go through the content
of users' emails to show ads. hopes this campaign will help educate
consumers about Google's email practices and promote's policy of
prioritizing the privacy of its users' emails.


To help consumers have their voice heard, today launched a petition
to help them get the message to Google that going through personal email
messages to sell ads is unacceptable. encourages consumers to sign
the petition at  and tell Google to stop going through their
emails to sell ads. encourages consumers to prioritize their privacy
by switching to

How Google Uses Personal Email Content to Sell Ads

Google goes through every single word of personal Gmail messages and uses that
information to sell and target ads.As Google explains on its website, "In Gmail,
most of the ads we show appear next to an open email message and are related to
the contents of the current email conversation or thread." For example, if you
write a friend to let her know you are separating from your husband, Google
sells ads against this information to divorce lawyers, who post ads alongside
it. Or if you ask a friend for vacation suggestions, Google uses this
information to target you with ads from travel agencies or airlines that want
your business.

Google even goes through emails from non-Gmail users to generate advertising
income. Gmail goes through all incoming email messages, from any email provider,
and sells ads based on the content of those emails - a practice that nearly 90
percent of Americans agree should end.

Unfortunately even if they try, consumers cannot stop Google from going through
their personal email for the purpose of showing them targeted ads.Google does
not enable Gmail users to opt out of seeing ads based on the content of emails.

There are currently six active class action lawsuits against Google, all
alleging illegal eavesdropping or interception under federal and state
wiretapping laws, related to Google's scanning of emails.

"Emails are personal - and people feel that reading through their emails to sell
ads is out of bounds," said  Stefan Weitz, senior director of Online Services at
Microsoft. "We honor the privacy of our users, and we are concerned
that Google violates that privacy every time an user exchanges
messages with someone on Gmail. This campaign is as much about protecting users from Gmail as it is about making sure Gmail users know what
Google's doing."

New GfK Roper Poll: Public Largely Unaware and Strongly Disapproves of the

A new GfK Roper poll, commissioned by Microsoft, shows that only 30 percent of
Americans are aware that any email service goes through the content of personal
emails to sell ads, and 88 percent of consumers disapprove of this practice.

Key results from this survey include the following:

* 88 percent of Americans disapprove of email service providers scanning the
content of your personal emails in order to target ads, and 52 percent
disapprove strongly.  
* 89 percent of Americans agree that email service providers should not be
allowed to scan the content of personal emails in order to target ads.  
* 83 percent of Americans agree that email service providers scanning the
content of your personal emails to target ads is an invasion of privacy.  
* 70 percent of Americans didn't believe or didn't know that any major email
service provider scans the content of personal emails in order to target ads.  
* 88 percent of email users believe that email service providers should allow
users to "opt out" if they prefer that the content of their emails not be
scanned in order to target ads. believes users should be informed about Google's email privacy
intrusions and consumers should know they have a choice to switch to

About the Don't Get Scroogled Campaign  

With the Don't Get Scroogled by Gmail consumer education campaign,
is doing two things: First, it is highlighting Google's practice of going
through the personal contents of emails to benefit Google's bottom line ahead of
the user. has launched this education campaign and petition to help
consumers get the message to Google that going through personal email messages
to sell ads is unacceptable. Second, wants to highlight that it is
an email service that puts consumers' privacy first.  

Beginning today and continuing for the next few weeks, the
Don't Get Scroogled activities will appear online and offline, demonstrating why
consumers should be concerned and helping them take action. is also
calling on consumers to join the petition drive to tell Google to stop going
through their users' email to sell ads. Consumers can also visit  to get information about Google's practices and
updates on the situation.

" believes your privacy is not for sale," Weitz said. "We believe
people should have choice and control over their private email messages, whether
they are sharing banking information or pictures of their family or discussing
their medical history."

Weitz added, " does not scan the contents of your personal email to
sell ads. is an email service that prioritizes your own and your
family's privacy. You wouldn't let the post office look inside your mail, so why
would you let Google?"  

More information about how prioritizes your privacy can be found at

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq "MSFT") is the worldwide leader in software,
services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full

1  About this study: The RDD telephone survey was conducted  Feb. 1-4, 2013  by
GfK's Public Affairs & Corporate Communications division, among a nationally
representative sample of 1,006 adults ages 18 or older. Interviews were
conducted with 753 respondents on landlines and 253 respondents on cellular
telephones. The data were weighted on age, sex, education, race and geographic
region. The margin of error on results based on the full sample is plus or minus
3 percentage points.

SOURCE  Microsoft Corp.

Rapid Response Team, Waggener Edstrom Worldwide, +1-503-443-7070,

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