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Sunday, September 4th, 2005, 3:26 pm

Microsoft Embraces Spying


MSN joins the on-line advertisement club. They will soon enable pay-per-click ads to be embedded in Web pages. According to ZDNet, MSN has already launched an advertising application, which upon closer inspection, leads to an appalling invasion of privacy. The Seattle Times (free registration needed for reading) reports that:

AdCenter uses information from customers who registered for services such as Hotmail or who tailored the MSN home page to their interests. It supplements that with data purchased from the Experian credit bureau.

This was predicted long ago in one of Joel’s most popular essays. Joel Spolsky used to work in Microsoft and he foresaw the exploitation of cookies and information swap:

…One day, Expedia could start offering higher fares to customers who have more than a million dollars in their Investor stock portfolio. There’s not really anything technically impossible about this, and it’s probably legal, too…

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