February 25, 2024

Microsoft's new Outlook shares data with nearly 800 advertising partners

The new version of Outlook is expected to completely replace the old one by 2025 or 2026 (Swiss IT Magazine reported). But there are serious criticisms of the app introduced last year: The new Outlook is a “data collection tool,” says Eduard Komenda of Swiss Post and VPN provider Proton. Proton runs its own mail service and competes with Outlook. Accordingly, due to local data protection regulations, European users receive an “annoying notice” after downloading, revealing that Microsoft is sharing data collected via Outlook with 772 other companies. Usage is also broken down further. The information therefore forms the basis, among other things, for advertising monitoring, personalized advertising or precise identification of people.

Depending on the provider, you can regulate the use of detailed data yourself. However, Komenda explains that for this purpose, users have to work through the privacy policies of all companies – some of which are broad, comprehensive and difficult to understand. “With the new Outlook, Microsoft is forcing users to navigate maze-like privacy policies to regain control of their data. And of course, Microsoft knows that almost no one reads privacy policies. If everyone understood them, revenue would be at risk.”

However, in accordance with its own advertising guidelines, Microsoft does not use personal data from emails, chats or documents for advertising purposes. However, according to Komenda, other information can provide information, such as favorites, location, transactions or search queries. In principle, according to data protection guidelines, Microsoft has the opportunity to read extensive personal data.

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With these practices, Microsoft follows in the footsteps of Google, Facebook, and more recently Apple, and criticizes Komenda. “Like other major technology companies, Microsoft has recognized the opportunity to generate significant revenue streams by collecting and analyzing user data. This data-focused mentality is part of a larger trend of incumbent companies vying for a piece of the surveillance money pie.” (sta)