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Print 55 comment(s) - last by nafhan.. on Apr 17 at 11:36 AM

Google says that Gmail users consented to scanning and practice is part of the normal delivery process

Google has updated its Terms of Service (TOS) to fully disclose to users that their incoming and outgoing emails are automatically analyzed using software. The software is analyzing the emails to create targeted ads that can be served to the user.
 
Google's TOS reveal that emails are scanned when they are stored on Google services and when in transit.
 
Google is currently fighting in court on allegations of violating the privacy of hundreds of millions of users. Courts in the U.S. decided last month not to combine several suits into a class action against Google.


Some Gmail users believe that Google is violating state and federal laws with its email scanning practices. Google continues to argue that users of Gmail consented to the activity and that it is part of the normal email delivery process.
 
The update terms of service spell this out more specifically. The new update reads:
 
Our automated systems analyze your content (including emails) to provide you personally relevant product features, such as customized search results, tailored advertising, and spam and malware detection. This analysis occurs as the content is sent, received, and when it is stored.
 
Google spokesman Matt Kallman said Google's changes, "will give people even greater clarity and are based on feedback we've received over the last few months."

Sources: Reuters, Google



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RE: Fail
By chrnochime on 4/15/2014 10:57:46 AM , Rating: 2
What do you use instead then?


RE: Fail
By Motoman on 4/15/2014 1:01:35 PM , Rating: 2
It's not hard. Just don't have accounts with such "free" services as Gmail or Facebook, and then you're not wh0ring yourself to the corporations.

You can use the email service provided by your ISP. Or by some other non-giant data mining corporation. Maybe like these guys, that I just found randomly with a search: http://www.zoho.com/mail/

It's actually very, very easy to simply not use any of the giant super-popular services that mine you for your identity.


RE: Fail
By nafhan on 4/15/2014 2:18:54 PM , Rating: 2
So... other than not having some ads displayed alongside your email, what does this actually get you?


RE: Fail
By Motoman on 4/15/2014 5:46:36 PM , Rating: 2
It actually gets you not having Google et al using you as their product. Which is the point.


RE: Fail
By nafhan on 4/15/2014 6:13:21 PM , Rating: 2
You're not leaving me convinced that you actually have any legit reasons. It seems like if you're going to get away from Google, you'd want to get away from Google and away from similar companies and services - not get away just to start using a similar service.


RE: Fail
By Motoman on 4/15/2014 7:52:41 PM , Rating: 2
Um...what?

There are alternatives to using Gmail that won't data mine you. You can use non-Google search engines, and/or run in private mode - and especially, don't have a Google/Yahoo/whatever account and be logged in while searching. Don't have to use FB at all. Or Twitter. Or Pinterest. Or...whatever.

It's not hard to avoid being a service to the big corporations. You just have to not do it. Pretty much that easy.


RE: Fail
By nafhan on 4/16/2014 9:36:45 AM , Rating: 2
So, avoiding data mining and collection of your own information is your reason. In the post before that you said avoiding Google was your reason.

Still, if you're using free services, you're getting "data mined". It's just going to be (allegedly) less personally identifiable. In fact, it may or may not be. That will end up depending on which services you use and how they communicate and share information with each other.

I'm not 100% certain that small corporations = trustworthy...


RE: Fail
By Motoman on 4/16/2014 11:34:16 AM , Rating: 2
You should revisit your ESL courses. I did not say "avoiding Google" was my reason. I said "Google et al" - which, if you were literate, you'd be aware means "Google and all others like them."

There are lots of services out there that publicly state in their terms that they *do not* mine your data. Which is 180 degrees separated from Google, which promises you that they *do* mine your data. And if, in fact, one of those other companies does wind up mining your data, you can take legal action against them because they would have been violating the terms of their contract with you.

As opposed to Google et al - who are telling you up front that they're using you as their product, and when you're too stupid to realize that means you shouldn't be their product, you have no legal recourse against them - because you abdicated those rights by agreeing to their terms when you became their product.

Smarts. You should try to get some.


RE: Fail
By nafhan on 4/17/2014 11:36:57 AM , Rating: 2
Trying to insult someone by claiming that they are illiterate and can't speak English on a text only, English, communication medium. That comes across as kind of pathetic, honestly.

Back to the actual discussion, you'll happily pick a random third party based out of India (Zoho), and trust them with your email because they promise not to engage in data mining, and you can sue them or something.

On one hand, I'm curious how you plan to go about making sure the company you randomly select off the internet doesn't mine your data. On the other hand, I'm I wondering how much experience you have with the Indian legal system. From what I hear they tend to bend over backwards for a-hole Americans trying to get money out of them due to IP law issues.


RE: Fail
By Solandri on 4/15/2014 3:43:50 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
You can use the email service provided by your ISP. Or by some other non-giant data mining corporation.

That actually decreases your email's privacy, because email is sent as cleartext. Your email goes through three network transmissions before the recipient can read it:

your computer -> your mail server (e.g. gmail)
your mail server -> recipient's mail server
recipient's mail server -> recipient's computer

All of these are normally done in cleartext, meaning anyone with access to any of those networks can read your email.

Google dropped support for non-SSL connections to mail services about a decade ago. The only way to transmit mail between your computer and gmail's servers is with SSL encryption. A lot of the bigger webmail services followed in Google's footsteps and made their service https-only (Yahoo finally did it this year). Most of the smaller ones haven't because while the extra CPU usage of a single SSL connection is not much, the extra CPU usage of thousands or millions of SSL connections is pretty substantial. If the webmail portal at your ISP is not https or you do not use SSL with their POP/IMAP service, then anyone between you and the ISP's mail servers can read your mail.

Requiring SSL secures the first step in the above chain (assuming you use gmail). If the recipient also uses gmail or another SSL-only service, this secures the last third step. If the email is gmail-to-gmail, your mail is as good as completely private (except from Google) because there is no second step. If your email is gmail-to-yahoo, the first and third steps are secure, but the second step is not (gmail's servers communicate with yahoo's servers in cleartext because that's what the Internet email spec calls for).

For the second step, it's the number of network hops which counts, since that represents how many networks your cleartext email crosses. The big services like gmail and yahoo tend to use big upstream providers with direct peering agreements, so your cleartext mail has to cross fewer networks. The smaller ones like your local ISP or cable company tend to use lower stream providers, meaning more hops before your mail gets to its destination. Each hop is yet another network where a bored or corrupt employee could be reading your emails.

So it's not really a choice between a giant data-mining corporation, and no data-mining corporation. It's a choice between a giant data-mining corporation, and who the h*ll knows who is reading your emails. (And when you send email from a gmail account to anything other than a gmail account, it's still who the h*ll knows who is reading your emails. Just less so that if you weren't using gmail or yahoo or hotmail.)


RE: Fail
By Motoman on 4/15/2014 5:49:28 PM , Rating: 2
Not all small email services are cleartext - anyone can buy an SSL cert, and as far as that goes, even if you're using Gmail, you have the same theoretical risk if the person on the other end isn't using SSL.

On the other hand, someone illicitly picking up your emails is likely guilty of wiretapping, or some other applicable offense, and you can prosecute them. What Google et al are doing is perfectly legal - your only recourse is to not let their services use you.


RE: Fail
By atechfan on 4/15/2014 1:40:20 PM , Rating: 2
The only Google service I use regularly is Youtube. There really is no one else even close in that category.


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