Microsoft’s latest smear campaign against Google services kicked into full gear earlier this month with the launch of several online video and print ads as part of its “Scroogled” campaign. Privacy is at the heart of the issues with Gmail depicted in the commercials, with the majority highlighting how Google scans the bodies of emails to serve up relevant ads in Gmail. According to a report from Datamation, Google executives commented on the claims during a panel discussion yesterday with heads from Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and Mozilla at the RSA Security conference.

Challenging Microsoft’s claims, Google’s Senior Privacy Counsel Keith Enright said the following:

Microsoft alleges that Google’s contextual ads, which show up alongside user email, is a violation of user privacy. Google does not agree. Enright noted that the use of automated algorithms is commonplace across multiple facets of technology and is not an issue of privacy. He added that automated algorithms are used to make the contextual ads more relevant. “The idea that doing that (contextual advertising) is in any way detrimental to privacy, or is antithetical to the interests of our users, I think is misleading and intellectually dishonest,” Enright said.

Enright continued:

“We have been doing work to simplify privacy policies so users don’t have to navigate across a byzantine labyrinth of disclosure that only lawyers understand,” Enright said… “It’s important to realize that much of the growth of the Internet has been funded by advertising and that will continue to be true,” Enright said. “We need to balance interests.”

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