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April 23, 2013

Microsoft News - Microsoft Starts New Campaign, Looks To Make Personal Data Safer

By Steve Anderson, Contributing TMCnet Writer

Protecting privacy online isn't exactly easy these days; there have never been so many different attempts to get access to all that precious data. But Microsoft (News - Alert) is looking to help on that front, carrying on a tradition of being there to help in terms of Internet privacy for years now. To that end, Microsoft has embarked on a new campaign designed to help users see just how Microsoft products, along with some certain basic procedures, can help protect privacy against many of the existing threats to same.

Microsoft's campaign will include a variety of television ads around the topic, as well as regular encouragement to not only visit Microsoft's "Safety and Security Center", but to also take a consumer survey it calls "Privacy Type." The survey--which admittedly sounds counter-intuitive--serves to help users learn how to better manage affairs of privacy when it comes to online use. The campaign is reportedly geared toward United States users, and there is at last report no word as to whether or not--if ever--the campaign will go global.

To be sure, Microsoft isn't specifically suggesting that all online sharing is bad. Indeed, in some cases, giving information can provide a better experience; a ZIP code added to an app will allow area-specific features and services to show up, for example. The benefits of a personalized experience aren't without merit. But there are some cases in which sharing information can be more dangerous and post much less potential for benefit, and these are the cases that Microsoft is out to call attention to.

Microsoft has also recently targeted Google (News - Alert), launching the "Scroogle" campaigns targeting Google's gathering of information, though some have regarded these measures as hypocritical in light of Microsoft's promotion of Bing alongside the Scroogle campaign. Indeed, a recent blog post from Microsoft's Ryan Gavin presents a level-headed portrayal of Microsoft's stake in things as Gavin describes: "We don't pretend to have all the answers, [but] we do want to help raise awareness for how you can have greater choice and control as you browse the Web." Gavin's post went on to describe that, while 85 percent of Americans are concerned with issues of privacy online, a much lower number overall actually does much about those concerns.

Though some may take issue with Microsoft promoting privacy to anyone, the basic concept here does remain a sound one. The issue of sharing too much information online has already been seen to be disastrous in some cases, so keeping better track of what information goes where can be a big help in terms of keeping said information safe and, ultimately, less likely to come back to hurt a user in the end.

Edited by Rory J. Thompson

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