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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 Solandri on 4/15/2014 3:07:16 PM , Rating: 2
That's the whole problem right there: You're equating privacy with price by default. Ten years of Google eroding your expectation to privacy can do that.

No, the problem is people even expecting their email to be private in the first place. Email is sent as cleartext. Anyone with admin privileges or direct access to any of the networks it crosses as it goes from your computer to the recipient's can read it. We old fogies who were on the Internet back in the ARPANET days had a saying: Your email is not like a letter in a sealed envelope, it's like a postcard which anyone who glances at can read. Google didn't erode anything; it's always been this way.

When I use a service, I shouldn't have to assume the above is taking place; I should know it isn't. That's the digital environment I'd like to be a part of at least.

You absolutely should assume it's taking place with anything you send as email, any browsing you do on a non-SSL site, any texts you send, any photos you upload, etc. Because those are all sent as cleartext. Literally anybody who bothers to snoop can grab that data and do whatever they want with it. At least Google et al have the decency to tell you they're doing it to feed you targeted ads.

If anything, Google has made email more private by forcing https to be used when you use their service. Before they did that, anyone between you and a webmail server (e.g. your ISP, someone working at the upstream network trunks, your neighbor stealing wifi from you) could watch your network packets and read your email. Most other webmail services emulated Google after it did that, and made their mail access SSL-only too. This was probably the biggest improvement to email privacy in the history of the Internet, and Google was the one who kicked it off.

If you want your email to be completely private, you need to use something like PGP to encrypt your mails. The catch being that the recipient also has to use PGP. After that, the most secure common form of email is actually from a gmail account to a gmail account. Both ends of those emails are SSL encrypted so only you and the recipient can read the network traffic. Google is the only other party who can read the mails, and their policy is to only have a computer algorithm read it for ads, not a person.

RE: Fail
By NellyFromMA on 4/16/2014 10:13:03 AM , Rating: 2
I tend to agree with you more often than not, but I'm going to have to offer some idealism and also disagree a bit.

I don't think its reasonable to say that everyone who uses the internet should understand all the ins and outs of how it works. That expectation is unrealistic in the same way most people don't even understand how their car works let alone how to maintain it.

With that said, I wholeheartedly believe they SHOULD know that. But, the realist in me knows that trying to operate on the assumption that everyone knows that their communications transmit clear-text is just way above where US citizens knowledge level is at. I believe education is key to the betterment of all things, but realistically, that's just not happening.

Look at all Edward Snowden (love him or hate him) has revealed about our regular digital privacy invasions. Now ask someone a question about privacy expectancy. Generally speaking, the community at large knows nothing about secure comms and its my opinion that if even 50% of teenagers and adults ever do know about this in any appreciable detail in the next decade, that would be a welcome miracle.

No, rather, I think we have a reasonable expectancy that our privacy will be respected, and if our government spent time ensuring the protection of our rights instead of the violation of them, we could feel ensures somewhat to protection instead of have to assume the worst.

Of course, you should conduct yourself carefully and now that we are on this path its clear there will never be any comfort in our expectancy to privacy.

I just don't think that's a good enough reason to not fight for it though. If it's going to be taken away from me, personally, I will yell loud about it. I will make it difficult.

I am quite technical and understand all of what you have said. I can handle doing those things just fine to the extent that I feel it is worth it, which is not at all.

I should have to act as a spy to get the rights entitled to me as a citizen of America. I have nothing to hide. I just don't think that should implicitly mean I am an open book.

My ideal is that people will become upset enough about their privacy being violated that they will stand up and say something about it in appreciable numbers. That may be far too unrealistic, but that's the idealism coming out now. It can't happen if people aren't passionate about it.

"Well, there may be a reason why they call them 'Mac' trucks! Windows machines will not be trucks." -- Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer
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