clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Microsoft clarifies new policy on users' personal information, says it won't target ads with it

New, 81 comments

If you buy something from a Verge link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

Microsoft released a clarified version of its new policy on user data on Monday, reports The New York Times. The updated version makes it explicitly clear that the company will not use private user information it collects to target advertising, something that rival Google is well known for doing.

"One thing we don’t do is use the content of our customers’ private communications and documents to target advertising."

The company's action comes in response to a letter from Representative Edward J. Markey, which cited an earlier NYT article that pointed out that Microsoft's updated user data policy left a lot of room for the company to use the data as it pleased. The wording in the Microsoft Services Agreement published on October 19th gave the company leeway to use information collected from personal communication services like email, search, and instant messaging for advertising purposes. Microsoft publicly denied that it would do so, but now it has updated the service agreement with more explicit language. "One thing we don’t do is use the content of our customers’ private communications and documents to target advertising," noted the company.

Privacy policies are becoming more of a concern for users as companies find various ways to profit from the use personal information provided by users. Earlier this year, Google revised its privacy policy to allow it to use private information collected from users across its various line of services and products. This prompted a reaction from regulators around the world that were concerned that the new policy gave Google too much leeway to use private information that its services collect. Microsoft took the opportunity to poke fun at Google's troubles with its new privacy policy with its "Gmail Man" video. Regulators in the EU have urged the company to change its new policy, but Google has yet to comply with the request.