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Microsoft Patents Your Rights Online

Bill Gates Knows What You Did Last Summer 303

theodp writes "Give Bill Gates your 'pictures, videos, documents, e-mail, instant messages, addresses, calendar dates/scheduling information (e.g., birthdays, anniversaries, appointments), voice mail, phone logs, RSS feeds, subscriptions, bookmarks, mail lists, project management features, computing device data, tasks and location data,' and he'll improve your 'quality of life.' That's the promise behind a patent issued Thursday to Bill Gates and his 20 co-inventors for 'Personal Data Mining', which Microsoft notes 'can include a monetization component' that 'could initiate an auction to sell information to the highest bidder.'"
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Bill Gates Knows What You Did Last Summer

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  • Privacy (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Hatta ( 162192 ) on Thursday February 04, 2010 @01:30PM (#31024230) Journal

    Is not privacy essential to a high quality of life?

  • by nweaver ( 113078 ) on Thursday February 04, 2010 @01:34PM (#31024294) Homepage

    Isn't that already called Google, where you give them your email, your pictures, your videos, your calendar, all your documents, all your web searches, and about half of your total web surfing (*cough* analytics *cough* doubleclick *cough)?

  • by RobotRunAmok ( 595286 ) on Thursday February 04, 2010 @01:42PM (#31024432)

    Come on, Bill, what's all this "Ask" crap about? In a Man's World, you just take someone's data, you don't "Ask" like some panty-waist privacy advocate! You think Sergey Brin would "ask" before he takes my data? Hell, no! Sergey will just take it, sell it to the NSA, and then create an Android app that will let me dial in and get it back again -- for a fee.

    Seriously, Bill... first combating world hunger, then curing disease, and now ASKing me before you breach my privacy? You're getting soft. Time to turn that Borg implant in your Slashdot avatar over to Sergey, I'm afraid...

  • Minor correction (Score:2, Interesting)

    by dtmos ( 447842 ) * on Thursday February 04, 2010 @01:43PM (#31024444)

    This patent did not issue on Thursday. US patents always issue on Tuesdays. This one issued on 2 February.

    The USPTO publishes patent applications (18 months after filing) on Thursdays.

  • Re:Privacy (Score:3, Interesting)

    by causality ( 777677 ) on Thursday February 04, 2010 @01:50PM (#31024526)

    Not for everyone.

    The way to combat this is to kill the monetization component. The way to do that is to beat Bill to the punch and give all your data to everyone before he does, so they have to motivation to buy it.

    Another way to combat this is to gather such information on Gates, other high-profile corporate figures, and politicians. Then publically post them onto highly visible Web sites. I mean after all, they think no privacy is such a great idea, right? Let them be the pioneers.

    Like the notion that if the average Congressman knew that he had to depend on Social Security for his retirement, it would have been fixed (i.e. made sustainable) a long time ago.

  • by amicusNYCL ( 1538833 ) on Thursday February 04, 2010 @01:57PM (#31024608)

    What exactly did Google do to earn your trust that Microsoft never could?

  • by Inda ( 580031 ) <> on Thursday February 04, 2010 @02:00PM (#31024652) Journal
    I do all that with Google and more. They send me snail mail and they have two of my phone numbers. I don't block JS. I don't use ad-block. I'm from the UK...

    So what advert do they choose to show me on this page? "Chicago Patent Lawyers" --Which is better than the normal "Tidy your SQL" type adverts.

    I don't code any more. I don't live in Chicago or even the USA.

    Most of my RSS feeds on my iGoogle home page are to do with football. Surely that must be the biggest clue for them?

    Google fail. They fail so hard with all their adverts.
  • Re:Privacy (Score:5, Interesting)

    by DancesWithBlowTorch ( 809750 ) on Thursday February 04, 2010 @02:03PM (#31024698)
    Okay, I'm confused. Whenever privacy is discussed around here, we say "wouldn't it be great if we could retain personal control over our data, and could willingly decide whom to sell our data to?"

    So know someone with a great deal of economic leverage is trying to push exactly such a system, and all of slashdot goes "Oh my god, how evil! Quick, everyone give your data away for free, so nobody can monetize them any more, not even yourself!"

    Guys, Bill Gates stopped being the most evil man about five years ago. I care much less about the shortcomings of Windows than I care about Google and Facebook knowing more about me than I do myself. At this point, I'd be willing to pay Bill Gates if he offers to secure all my personal data.
  • by element-o.p. ( 939033 ) on Thursday February 04, 2010 @02:14PM (#31024824) Homepage
    Ummm...used Linux? :P
  • by thehostiles ( 1659283 ) on Thursday February 04, 2010 @02:15PM (#31024848)

    He's a man who represents last generation's corporate strategies.

    He still sells products to people, rather than selling people to each other.

  • by nschubach ( 922175 ) on Thursday February 04, 2010 @02:28PM (#31025010) Journal

    especially not a publicly traded, for-profit corporation.

    You say that like the "not-for-profit" companies are any better. Most of them are pushing agendas of their own. Just because they don't profit share with stockholders doesn't make them any more trustworthy.

  • by mcgrew ( 92797 ) * on Thursday February 04, 2010 @02:46PM (#31025236) Homepage Journal

    You do realize that your grandmother is probably a cyborg, don't you? If she has an artificial hip, knee, pacemaker, or any other device incorporated in her body that aids in its functions, she's a cyborg.

    You will be assimilated. You will pay good money to be assimilated!

    When I was assimilated in 2006 [] my existance as I knew it was over. And I'm thankful as hell!

  • Re:Privacy (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Thursday February 04, 2010 @03:24PM (#31025632) Homepage

    You CAN do that by limiting the amount of data created.

    #1 - Store loyalty cards? GET RID OF THEM.
    #2 - Use ONLY CASH for every transaction. Some really big ones you cant, but you can limit the data creation.
    #3 - DONT register warranty cards, or registration of anything.
    #4 - Xbox live user? Use a not connected to you information base and ONLY use scratch and sniff cards. make a random person that cant be connected to you, this is not hard.
    #5 - Prepaid cellphone with only cash bought minutes from cards linked to fake information.

    There are a lot more, but it can be done. The problem started with YOU not getting verbally upset with banks selling your information to everyone. Along with stores, etc... The time to have stopped this was 20 years ago before an entire industry was created around collecting data on everyone.

    Some places now have cameras at the card swipe machine pointing at your face from the keypad. I guarentee these are taking a snapshot of you and can be used to attach your cash purchase to you. Simply covering the camera before you enter view will solve that.

    If you want to protect your information and privacy you have to work hard at it because your government does not care one tiny bit about it.

  • Re:Privacy (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Hatta ( 162192 ) on Thursday February 04, 2010 @04:05PM (#31026074) Journal

    What sort of privacy did you have in a hovel with -3-4 generations of family all sleeping on the same dirt floor?

    What sort of quality of life did you have then? You had piss poor privacy, and piss poor quality of life. As people's fortunes improved, they chose to improve their quality of life by increasing their privacy.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 04, 2010 @04:16PM (#31026254)

    At the time, I thought it might be a bunch of shills, since the pro-MS / counter-MS posts weren't following the usual pattern. It's entirely normal to see occasional pro-MS posts, but it's not normal to see LOTS of them at once, and it's very very suggestive to see lots of them concurrent with a marketing blitz.

    It's also very very suggestive to see the posting rates collapse back to normal concurrent with the end of a marketing blitz.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 04, 2010 @04:21PM (#31026324)

    A better way is to use multiple spellings for your name, and multiple email addresses. Including middle names, using short forms (Mike versus Michael), and slight mispelling* sometimes work for places that do not care.

    The easiest method is to add "+company" to your email address, if you use gmail. For instance, if I get spam from , I know that Microsoft leaked the email address or Microsoft is spamming me.

    *A utility misspelled my name, and has refused to let me change that name because I cannot prove that I am that person. I have just stopped trying, and I still pay the utilities.

The last thing one knows in constructing a work is what to put first. -- Blaise Pascal