Google Updates Terms of Service to Disclose Email Scanning for Targeted Ads
April 15, 2014 9:29 AM
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Google says that Gmail users consented to scanning and practice is part of the normal delivery process
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."
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4/16/2014 10:13:03 AM
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.
"We are going to continue to work with them to make sure they understand the reality of the Internet. A lot of these people don't have Ph.Ds, and they don't have a degree in computer science." -- RIM co-CEO Michael Lazaridis
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