Print 43 comment(s) - last by inighthawki.. on Mar 11 at 10:32 PM

Microsoft said Google's cloud services are data mining students at school

Microsoft is after Google again with a school privacy bill that could wipe out Google's cloud-computing services for students.

Microsoft is backing a bill that targets Google's Apps for Education, saying that these cloud-computing services are collecting data from schoolchildren for the purpose of creating better advertising or other commercial means.

"We believe that student data should not be used for commercial purposes; that cloud-service providers should be transparent in how they use student data; and that service providers should obtain clear consent for the way they use data," said Mike Houlihan, a Microsoft spokesman. "We expect that students, parents and educators will judge any proposed legislation on its merits."

The bill was unveiled in January, and is currently being considered by Massachusetts’s lawmakers. Microsoft has been very direct with the fact that it is behind this bill, and that Google is the target.

Google has said that its Apps for Education -- which is free and includes apps like Gmail and word-processing software -- turns off ads by default. But Microsoft said Google can still collect student data to adjust spam filtering, etc.

"Just because ads are not being displayed to students, it doesn't mean something else isn't being done with the data," said a Microsoft spokeswoman.

Microsoft made sure to add that its Web-based email for education doesn't have any ads in its settings. Microsoft doesn't charge for email, calendars or contacts, but schools need to pay for Office and Microsoft's new cloud-based service, Office 365 Education.

Some children's privacy advocates are a little worried that Microsoft's efforts are more focused on pushing Google out of the education space rather than the privacy of children.

"We'll still look at the legislation on its merits, but the origins of the bill are troubling," said Josh Golin, associate director of the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood.

This certainly isn't Microsoft's first attempt at attacking Google. It encouraged the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to file a lawsuit against Google two years ago for its Web search dominance and abuse. In January, the FTC and Google were able to settle the dispute without any fines -- which infuriated Microsoft.

Just last month, Microsoft launched a campaign against Google's Gmail called "Don't Get Scroogled by Gmail." It was an effort to bring users to Outlook instead through a series of television commercials and Internet ads. Earlier this week, Microsoft pulled the plug on the campaign saying that the catchphrase will stick around, but the ads will die off.

Source: The 188th General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

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RE: School Budgets
By Manch on 3/7/2013 2:51:26 PM , Rating: 2
OK, if you prefer Google, but you did not answer the question of why it's bad and sleazy for MS but not Google. Your post reeks of bias.

In the world I live in where I deal with the corporate world, small business world, Government, etc,employers don't require you to buy your own office suite. Yeah it can be expensive to purchase on your ownc, but a lot of employers provide discounts and MS does have deals that make it cheaper than retail. Plus if you really need to have it at home, then it's really not that much. Otherwise you can get by with open source.

As far as teh schools go, they will pay in some form or another. None of these student products are given away without a hook. There's no getting around that. When I was in school, the campus video system was "free" but we had to endure commercials. This isn't any different.

In this case, the school choosing to use a particular suite is basically selling the students metrics, which are used by Google to turn a profit so the school doesn't have to come out of pocket. Top it off, Google gets kids used to doing things in Googles products, and as you say hook em while they are young.

MS on the otherhand is choosing a different route. By emphasizing the fact that UNLIKE Google, they do not collect your info, they rally parents and what not behind them in convincing the school to cough up the dough. In return, they take a marginal profit on the chance that most kids will learn that particular suite, and hook em while theyr young!

So you see the end result is the same and that's why I asked why is it bad and sleazy for MS but not for Google?

Now as for open source, If you can learn these open source programs and they will teach you enough to use MS products, then I would argue that the use of MS products will teach you enough to use these open source programs that oh yeah, try to duplicate the expensive, proprietary office suites.

Also, I just want to make sure what you're saying. You're telling me that Google will not be able to target the individual students that are using the free Gmail?

Proxy isn't going to stop that. And so what if they collect teachers and admins info too, they can advertise progear for teachers, and learning programs to the admins. Google will be able to find out what services and other crap that email address has been used to sign up for which and what. From that they can target that user.

RE: School Budgets
By Jeffk464 on 3/7/2013 3:56:08 PM , Rating: 2
Basically everywhere we go everything we buy and every typed message is being tracked and stored for 2 years. Why worry about a small thing like Google services.

RE: School Budgets
By Jeffk464 on 3/7/2013 3:57:40 PM , Rating: 2
And would anybody be surprised to find out that every phone call is being recorded and stored?

RE: School Budgets
By inighthawki on 3/7/2013 4:01:53 PM , Rating: 2
I would because it would be quite an incredible feat for the telecom companies to have enough storage and storage bandwidth to record and store every phone call ever made. Do you know how much space that would take up even at low quality?

RE: School Budgets
By Manch on 3/7/2013 5:01:34 PM , Rating: 2
google or bing "does the nsa record phone calls"

RE: School Budgets
By inighthawki on 3/7/2013 5:56:07 PM , Rating: 2

The records include detailed call information (caller, receiver, date/time of call, length of call, etc.) for use in traffic analysis and social network analysis, but do not include audio information or transcripts of the content of the phone calls.

RE: School Budgets
By Jeffk464 on 3/7/2013 6:12:23 PM , Rating: 2
Sting had it all right.

Every breath you take, every step you take, I'll be watching you. We are so far beyond the book 1984, the author couldn't even imagine what was coming.

RE: School Budgets
By Manch on 3/7/2013 6:51:57 PM , Rating: 2
There have been whistle blowers that have testified in court that the NSA is collecting and recording everything. If you had searched that phrase you would have found it. There were also other links pointing to other claims and articles. None of us know for sure if it's true but there's a lot of evidence pointing in that direction.

RE: School Budgets
By inighthawki on 3/7/2013 9:21:16 PM , Rating: 2
I did search that phrase and found absolutely nothing suggesting that they record everyone's phone calls. Maybe SOME peoples' phone calls, but all? Certainly not. There is not enough storage medium on this planet to keep a recording of all phone calls ever made.

RE: School Budgets
By Manch on 3/8/2013 2:00:51 AM , Rating: 2
When I searched that phrase:
Using as many as twenty data intercept centers throughout the United States which can each store an almost unimaginable quantity of information, Binney notes that, “The sheer size of that capacity indicates that the NSA is not filtering personal electronic communications such as email before storage but is, in fact, storing all that they are collecting.”
Software can then be run against that data to construct timelines about an individual’s personal life and a map of their social and business connections. Bluffdale, Binney said, will be able to store 100 years worth of the worlds’ electronic communication. “

Too many quotes, to pull from that article, but after the wiki link at the top of the page, those were the next three.

No you didn't search.

RE: School Budgets
By inighthawki on 3/8/2013 11:20:43 AM , Rating: 2
If you read the articles then you'd also know that the buildings aren't even done being built, so how could they have been recording everything?

RE: School Budgets
By Jeffk464 on 3/9/2013 1:40:05 AM , Rating: 2
sure puts google's spying in perspective though

RE: School Budgets
By Manch on 3/11/2013 7:49:22 AM , Rating: 2
That sight isn't done. The former NSA employee has been saying they have been doing this for years.

Either actually read, or just STFU already

RE: School Budgets
By inighthawki on 3/11/2013 10:32:58 PM , Rating: 2
I'm sorry but you're being completely rude. I have in fact read what you've posted, and there is no mention of the NSA's ability (currently) to actually collect all of the information, they currently only have the capability to record actions and analyze patterns of usage across electronic communication. I'm certain they are able to record a subset, likely of the information that is collected and flagged.

"The Space Elevator will be built about 50 years after everyone stops laughing" -- Sir Arthur C. Clarke

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