If you have an e-mail account with Microsoft, you may have seen the e-mail below in your inbox:

It outlines Microsoft’s new terms of use and privacy statement.  These changes cover anyone who uses a Microsoft account like Outlook.com (includes HotMail, MSN & LiveMail addresses), OneDrive and Bing.

The new policy takes effect on July 31.  Microsoft says that they won’t use the contents of your documents, photos, personal files or what you say in an e-mail or during chat, video calls or voicemail to target advertising to you.

Some services do exactly that. I’ve had the experience of sending an message in Gmail about something and then having an ad that Google believes relates to the topic discussed pop up in my inbox.  Gmail cites an example on their website that if you’ve recently received a lot of messages that talk about photography, they might show you deals on cameras at a local camera shop.

Microsoft goes on to explain that they do use “cookies” to collect information about your online activity and enable some sites to load faster when you visit them again, but you can block those cookies in Internet Explorer by going to Tools > Internet Options.

Choose the Privacy Tab and you can move the slider bar to block all cookies or just some of them.

Microsoft does use demographic information based on gender, age and zip code to provide ads, but you can opt out of receiving those targeted ads on their opt-out page.

The company also added language clarifying that parents are responsible for their minor children’s use of Microsoft accounts, services and purchases.

You can read the complete privacy police by clicking here.

~ Cynthia