Bonum Certa Men Certa

ASA Should Issue a Fine and Immediately Stop Deception/FUD Campaign From Microsoft, Falsely Claiming That Google Reads Mail While Microsoft (Implicitly) Does Not

Misinformed by Microsoft in attack ads

Couch potato



Summary: New leaks, and not just leaks from Edward Snowden, show that Microsoft is abusing people's privacy in E-mail, so the ASA should put an end to Microsoft's anti-Google ads

IN THE UK we have the ASA, which helps crack down on excessively deceiving advertising (almost all commercials are deceiving by design, but some are very blatantly lying). In the past we wrote about the ASA in relation to Microsoft. Microsoft is lying in a very gross way.



There is one particular type of adverts in the UK these days which can annoy me quite a lot. They are not Microsoft ads, they are anti-Google ads, sponsored by Microsoft (as Microsoft is promoting Penn, this is now their strategy). I heard those ads and complained about them before, citing the ASA as the body that needs to receive formal complaints about this. Well, what I didn't know is that several Brits had already reported these to the ASA, noting that FUD campaigns as the business model are not acceptable, especially when the smears/FUD are untrue, or even libelous. According to a new report from the British media: ""At issue was a radio advertisement that limped onto the air as part of Microsoft's hoary Scroogled campaign. In a voice-over, Microsoft used Pig Latin to disguise its criticism of its rival and then dwelled on that to make Outlook look like the better option.

""A radio ad, for Microsoft Outlook, began with a character who stated, 'may ivatepray e-mailway isway onway ofway eirthay usinessbay'," explained the ASA.

""The voice-over then stated 'Pig Latin may be hard to understand, but you probably need it if you use Gmail, because Gmail scans every word of your emails to sell ads. But Outlook.com doesn't. And you can choose to opt out of personalised ads. To stop Gmail from using your e-mails, use Outlook.com. Learn more at KeepYourEmailPrivate.com and keep your e-mails ivatepray'."

"Catchy, snappy stuff, but it did not sit nicely with a couple of people who complained to the ASA about the ad taking liberties with the truth. It was suggested that while Microsoft did not make this clear, it scans its users' emails too."

Now, guess what? The ASA did nothing! Microsoft was allowed to get away with it because "the ad made no claims (whether explicit or implied) that Outlook.com did not use any other form of e-mail scanning." (source)

This is "bizarre in light of recent revelations about Microsoft mail and chat," said iophk, alluding to revelations that we covered earlier this month.

Perhaps it's time to resubmit (or amend) the complaints to the ASA, citing documents leaked after Syrian crackers showed FBI-Microsoft relationships, in addition (consequently) to Microsoft's admission that it is snooping on people and their E-mails for business reasons, not even national security reasons. This can at least lead Microsoft to dropping these false (or at best hypocritical) ads that pollute the British media and aggravate many Brits (rightly so).

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