Who’s reading your Emails?

In an oddly surprising move, Google admitted that they electronically read Emails to improve the ads sent to you as well as other various reasons including replacing real shopping search results with paid ads, to sharing your personal information with application developers.

In a class action lawsuite, google stated “a person has no legitimate expectation of privacy in information he voluntarily turns over to third parties.” [see here]

Various columnists on the Internet have stated that they are surprised or even outraged at Google stance including:

  • Consumer Watchdog recently said “If they [Google] take privacy seriously, then they must amend their brief and stop reading and analyzing the content of email we send to their system.”
  • Business Insider’s Ira Kalb says that “Google crossed the creepy line, and it owes everyone an apology.”
  • Molly Wood at CNET says that “Google is freaking scary, full stop.“

If you also remember that when Google were sending out those specialized cars with the cameras on top to capture street views [that also caused privacy issues in various countries], they were also snooping around and grabbing data from unprotected Wi-Fi networks as they did so and said nothing until it was revealed.

Former NSA and CIA Director Michael Hayden has alread mentioned that Gmail is the most widely preferred by terrorists – oddly since messages are read. [Wondering if they get advertisements for RPGs, AK-047, etc. 🙂 ]

Yahoo recently killed off the “classic” Mail site and are now forcing users to use the new mail site where users are subject to the electronic email reading like Gmail.

According to a new terms of service agreement, itt grants Yahoo the permission to “scan and analyze all incoming and outgoing communications content sent and received from your account.” Yahoo will collects and stores some data to “provide personally relevant product features and content, to match and serve targeted advertising and for spam and malware detection and abuse protection.”

Yahoo offers an opt-out option here. Oddly at the bottom, it gives some details of who you are. They got my age range right but show me as a female. 🙂

Google also has an application called the “Google Analytics Opt-Out Browser Add-on” here for the major web browsers.

Microsoft claims that they do not read messages electronically. Whether or not you believe them, that’s a different story.

Aside from the conspiracy theory nuts, that is.

[Update 2013/09/27:] A US federal judge in California has ruled that a lawsuit brought against Google for violating US wiretap law may move forward. The lawsuit alleges that Google violates the law when it scans email messages. Google maintains that it scans all emails that pass through its servers to check for spam as well as to create user profiles and provide targeted advertising. Google was seeking to have the lawsuit dismissed under a portion of the wiretap law that allows email providers to intercept messages if the action helps the message get delivered or is incidental to the efficient functioning of service. US District Judge Lucy Koh wrote in her decision, “the statutory scheme suggests that Congress did not intend to allow electronic communication service providers unlimited leeway to engage in any interception that would benefit their business models.”


About ebraiter
computer guy

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