Don't expect privacy if you're sending messages to Gmail

15 August 2013

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Sending a message to your mate with a Gmail account? Well, Google have said - remarkably - that users have no "reasonable expectation" that their communications are confidential.

These words come from a court paper, found by Consumer Watchdog. "Google has finally admitted they don't respect privacy," said John Simpson, Consumer Watchdog's privacy project director. "People should take them at their word; if you care about your email correspondents' privacy, don't use Gmail."

Google defended themselves in a case last month from accusations that they had broken wire tap laws when it scans emails sent from non-Google accounts. The lawsuit said that Google "unlawfully opens up, reads, and acquires the content of people's private email messages".

"Unbeknown to millions of people, on a daily basis and for years, Google has systematically and intentionally crossed the 'creepy line' to read private email messages containing information you don't want anyone to know, and to acquire, collect, or mine valuable information from that mail."

Google said the plaintiffs were making "an attempt to criminalise ordinary business practices" and that "all users of email must necessarily expect that their emails will be subject to automated processing."

Google added: "Just as a sender of a letter to a business colleague cannot be surprised that the recipient's assistant opens the letter, people who use web-based email today cannot be surprised if their communications are processed by the recipient's ECS [electronic communications service] provider in the course of delivery."

What do you make of that then? Outrageous privacy invasion or do you just assume the internet is filled with dubious stuff like this and it's better if you ignore it and get on with your life?

TOPICS:   Technology   Privacy

4 comments

  • klingelton
    email sent to gmail account. gmail server processes said email to find out where it's going etc and places data in a database. People are surprised that gmail has to pre-process the email before they get their grubby mits on it. tbh, if you're sending data which is that sensitive, why are you using Gmail? get over it, google aren't that interested in what an individual has to say anyway.
  • Egg-flip
    Yawn. I have nothing interesting to say either on here or in an email so won't be worrying about this one bit.
  • tom
    "google aren’t that interested in what an individual has to say anyway." Uhmm yes they are, their ads are targeted useing the information from email, klingelton you dumb shit.
  • Big M.
    Hey Tom, maybe google could use all this information on people to make money. The book 'The Filter Bubble' is good reading on this.

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