A petition that won't get my signature, even though it looks good
I just got a petition in my inbox today, stating that I should be concerned with the fact that Google reads my e-mail and uses it to sell targeted advertising. While I do think that reading my email, even via computerized methods, and using it for targeted advertising is a bit shady at best, I just can’t convince myself to sign this one. The problem is not the wording of the petition, nor is it the idea that Google should stop reading email and using it to show targeted advertising based on its content. Privacy is indeed a major concern for me, and under most circumstances, a petition like this would have gotten my signature immediately. My problem, however, is the fact that this specific petition didn’t originate from a group of concerned Gmail users, nor did it even originate from any consumer advocacy or similar type of organization that should be concerned with the privacy of its members. No, this Care2 petition lists its author as outlook.com which is of course a Microsoft website that redirects to a Microsoft Live account login page. I have to question Microsoft’s motives at this point, and even question the validity of their claim that Google is in fact reading my e-mail and using it to sell ads. While I’m sure Google does some shady stuff, Microsoft definitely does shady stuff as well, so I wouldn’t put it past them to do something as underhanded as putting a petition on Care2 that accuses their competition of violating my privacy. "Look here. See? we raised concerns about our competitor's business practices that directly affect you, our prospective customers, even though we don’t give a care that our business practices leave a lot to be desired as well, and even though our competitor may or may not even be engaging in the evil business practices that we want to accuse them of doing." So because of this, I refuse to sign this otherwise worthy-looking petition. I’m not about to sign anything that basically says that a company wants me to agree with them that their competitor is doing something wrong. That is unfair to me, it’s unfair to the competitor, and it certainly gives an already disreputable company an unfair advantage in the e-mail market which, I should add, is an area where Microsoft is definitely struggling, and has been for many years. It certainly does remind me of other ways Microsoft has attempted to grow its market share by trashing the competition, and I refuse to be a party to that kind of dirty dealing.