A Swiss Email Provider Delivers Some Sharp Cheese about MSFT Outlook

January 17, 2024

green-dino_thumb_thumb_thumb_thumbThis essay is the work of a dumb dinobaby. No smart software required.

What company does my team love more than Google? Give up. It is Microsoft. Whether it is the invasive Outlook plug in for Zoom on the Mac or the incredible fly ins, pop ups, and whining about Edge, what’s not to like about this outstanding, customer-centric firm? Nothing. That’s right. Nothing Microsoft does can be considered duplicitous, monopolistic, avaricious, or improper. The company lives and breathes the ethics of Thomas Dewey, the 19 century American philosopher. This is my opinion, of course. Some may disagree.


A perky Swiss farmer delivers an Outlook info dump. Will this delivery enable the growth of suveillance methodologies? Thanks, MSFT Copilot Bing thing. Thou did not protest when I asked for this picture.

I read and was troubled that one of my favorite US firms received some critical analysis about the MSFT Outlook email program. The sharp comments appeared in a blog post titled “Outlook Is Microsoft’s New Data Collection Service.” Proton offers an encrypted email service and a VPN from Switzerland. (Did you know the Swiss have farmers who wash their cows and stack their firewood neatly? I am from central Illinois, and our farmers ignore their cows and pile firewood. As long as a cow can make it into the slaughter house, the cow is good to go. As long as the firewood burns, winner.)

The write up reports or asserts, depending on one’s point of view:

Everyone talks about the privacy-washing(new window) campaigns of Google and Apple as they mine your online data to generate advertising revenue. But now it looks like Outlook is no longer simply an email service(new window); it’s a data collection mechanism for Microsoft’s 772 external partners and an ad delivery system for Microsoft itself.

Surveillance is the key to making money from advertising or bulk data sales to commercial and possibly some other organizations. Proton enumerates how these sucked up data may be used:

  • Store and/or access information on the user’s device
  • Develop and improve products
  • Personalize ads and content
  • Measure ads and content
  • Derive audience insights
  • Obtain precise geolocation data
  • Identify users through device scanning

The write up provides this list of information allegedly available to Microsoft:

  • Name and contact data
  • Passwords
  • Demographic data
  • Payment data
  • Subscription and licensing data
  • Search queries
  • Device and usage data
  • Error reports and performance data
  • Voice data
  • Text, inking, and typing data
  • Images
  • Location data
  • Content
  • Feedback and ratings
  • Traffic data.

My goodness.

I particularly like the geolocation data. With Google trying to turn off the geofence functions, Microsoft definitely may be an option for some customers to test. Good, bad, or indifferent, millions of people use Microsoft Outlook. Imagine the contact lists, the entity names, and the other information extractable from messages, attachments, draft folders, and the deleted content. As an Illinois farmer might say, “Winner!”

For more information about Microsoft’s alleged data practices, please, refer to the Proton article. I became uncomfortable when I read the section about how MSFT steals my email password. Imagine. Theft of a password — Is it true? My favorite giant American software company would not do that to me, a loyal customer, would it?

The write up is a bit of content marketing rah rah for Proton. I am not convinced, but I think I will have my team do some poking around on the Proton Web site. But Microsoft? No, the company would not take this action would it?

Stephen E Arnold, January 17, 2023


Comments are closed.

  • Archives

  • Recent Posts

  • Meta