Here’s something odd: Microsoft, one of the companies that turned over customer data to the National Security Agency has a new line of swag criticizing Google for (you guessed it!) violating users’ privacy rights.
Branded as Scroogle, written in Google’s rainbow typeface, Microsoft’s anti-Google merchandise bears slogans like “Keep Calm…While We Steal Your Data” and “Step Into Our Web.”
It’s not that they don’t have a point: Google may have broken privacy laws by combing through its users’ Gmail accounts for key terms to generate customized advertisements (a federal judge has yet to decide). But Microsoft is in a bit of a glass house on this one.
As former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden revealed in June, Google, Microsoft, and several other Silicon Valley tech companies have been turning over user data for years to the NSA. Granted they had no choice in participating in the agency’s PRISM program, as they were bound to by orders from the secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. But they don’t seem to have put up much of a fight either.
In any case, the broader lesson of PRISM seems to be that when you turn over your information to a major corporation, you have little control over what happens to it. Which corporation you give it to seems almost beside the point.
But okay. Microsoft wants to get into the Internet activism game. Fair enough. So what does the corporation suggest America does to fight this unjust email invasion? A protest? Letters to Congress? A White House petition?
I’ll say it again: Bing.
Photo by Seattle Clouds/Flickr