Google: Gmail users have no "reasonable expectation" of privacy(!)


  1. Gmash

    Gmash Well-Known Member

    So the days of "don't be evil" are officially over. Gmail is now only good for spam.

    Google: don't expect privacy when sending to Gmail | Technology | The Guardian

    People sending email to any of Google's 425 million Gmail users have no
    "reasonable expectation" that their communications are confidential, the
    internet giant has said in a court filing.
    Consumer Watchdog, the advocacy group that uncovered the filing, called
    the revelation a "stunning admission." It comes as Google and its peers
    are under pressure to explain their role in the National Security Agency's
    (NSA) mass surveillance of US citizens and foreign nationals.
    "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 set out its case last month in an attempt to dismiss a class action
    lawsuit that accuses the tech giant of breaking wire tap laws when it
    scans emails sent from non-Google accounts in order to target ads to
    Gmail users.
    That suit, filed in May, claims Google "unlawfully opens up, reads, and
    acquires the content of people's private email messages". It quotes Eric
    Schmidt, Google's executive chairman: "Google policy is to get right up to
    the creepy line and not cross it."
    The suit claims: "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."
    In its motion to dismiss the case, Google said the plaintiffs were making
    "an attempt to criminalise ordinary business practices" that have been
    part of Gmail's service since its introduction. Google said "all users of
    email must necessarily expect that their emails will be subject to
    automated processing."

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    Clementine_3 likes this.
  2. Clementine_3

    Clementine_3 Well-Known Member

    There is no such thing as online privacy, never was. Google sells ads, it's what they've always done and it was never a secret. To sell ads you have to be able to target them, to target them you have to know to whom, to know that you have to "read" every keystroke of everything that goes through your (Google's) server. The first email sent on Gmail was 'scanned' and the first search on Google was 'scanned' for keywords in order to better target ads. It's not new, it shouldn't be a shock. Sure, they've honed the process and maybe include some stuff they shouldn't but they are no more sneaky than any other company, online or not. If I can say I like anything about all of this it is that at least Google is semi-upfront about it. But really, please don't think anything is yours and only yours and private, that went out the window (lol) in the 50's, today's technology just makes it more streamlined and faster.
    Google is evil. Slightly less evil than most though.
  3. Ssith

    Ssith Well-Known Member

    i have never understood why email was not protected like snail mail is as far as "you're not the recipient, you don't get to open it."
  4. mikedt

    mikedt 你好 Guide

    Because the email is effectively already open, unless its been encrypted in any way. Anyone can intercept and read an unencrypted email, it's plain text, and the recipient wouldn't even know


    I tend to think of email as more like a postcard rather than being a latter in a sealed envelope. Anyone can read what's written on a postcard as there's nothing to open. I wouldn't put anything private and confidential on a postcard, and I treat email in exactly the same way.
    anmire likes this.
  5. MoodyBlues

    MoodyBlues - Crazy peacock person - Guide

    I reluctantly signed up for a GMail account when I got my first Android phone--because I HAD to in order to really do anything, like install apps.

    But I never use that address for anything. AND I only access it via my e-mail client, so even if I did choose to send mail to someone from that account (and I never have), it wouldn't pass through Google's hands. It goes directly from my computer, through my outgoing mail server (I have Earthlink) and to the recipient. The only incoming mail I ever receive at that address is from Google (like a receipt for a Play Store purchase).

    People I know who do use their GM accounts for real mail, I try to encourage to stop using the GM interface and instead use a real e-mail client to send and receive mail.
  6. Codegerm

    Codegerm Well-Known Member

    I agree, email is basically a postcard. If you want reasonable privacy, you need to encrypt it. For that I use K9 with APG. Setting K9 to send as plain text, you can pass email through Gmail, Yahoo, etc with encryption just fine.
  7. Gmash

    Gmash Well-Known Member

  8. saptech

    saptech Well-Known Member

    I've never used any of the big boys (google, yahoo, MS hotmail) email for serious emails. I know none is really private but I use others for more serious emailing! I don't trust those mega corps. anymore.
  9. wyndslash

    wyndslash Well-Known Member

    Not just targeted ads but also info for google now to work. I expect it in their terms of privacy as well as in the other email services. I just think the articles that make a big deal about it are taking selected snippets without considering the context for the sake of sensationalism.
  10. 9to5cynic

    9to5cynic Well-Known Member

    I don't really see that big of a deal with this... from what I'm understanding, it's an automated process that finds keywords to target ads to you. The same thing google's been doing for years.

    Now for me, most of my emails are just between a couple of people exchanging URLs along with our reactions. But, for anyone concerned about their emails remaining private....
    gpg brah.

    ;)
  11. wyndslash

    wyndslash Well-Known Member

    Same here. I knew what I was getting into when I signed up for gmail and google now (which explicitly tells you that it reads your emails before you say yes or no)
  12. SiempreTuna

    SiempreTuna Well-Known Member

    The Google definition of 'upfront': denying they cross the 'creepy line' for years then accidentally letting it slip that the do, regularly, in a legal defence document .. in a case about invasion of privacy ;)

    It is strange that people are so up-in-arms about the government capturing metadata about their comms to (we're told) protect them but don't seem in the slightest bit bothered about a private company mining not just metadata but also content just to more effectively make money out of them .. :confused:

    Next we need Google to reveal their definition of 'evil' - I suspect it may be slightly different to OED's .. :D
    Gmash likes this.
  13. wyndslash

    wyndslash Well-Known Member

    This is a non issue if anyone cared to read the whole document or inderstand the context of that comment. The media does like to take snippets and blow them out of proportion. Besides, it's no good to trust any company. Being a skeptic will keep you alive most times.
  14. wyndslash

    wyndslash Well-Known Member

    Most of google's services (books, music, tv) aren't available here so they can't make money off me :p

    I do find that they provide me with good services (google now, maps) from the info I give them.
  15. Unforgiven

    Unforgiven What does this button do? Moderator

    Google's position on this has been the same since around 2004 when I joined. We serve up ads to support GMail, we target those ads based on the content of you email. We don't share the content of you email with third parties.
  16. Codegerm

    Codegerm Well-Known Member

    I never really get that concerned about it. I never send anything through normal email (Gmail, Yahoo, etc) that I wouldn't put on a postcard. The rest goes through my private email and encrypted. Any email I did for work stuff used the company's corporate email servers which is always encrypted.
  17. Gmash

    Gmash Well-Known Member

    I can agree there is some sensationalism going on, but I still think most people don't realize this is going on and would think it is creepy. Thankfully I'm boring enough that I don't have anything to hide anyway lol.:)
  18. wyndslash

    wyndslash Well-Known Member

    Same here. :rofl:

    Well, in essence, it /is/ creepy. :p
  19. zuben el genub

    zuben el genub Well-Known Member

    I use Gmail for some email, it's too hard to get certain friends to remember a new address. However, I signed up for FB and Twitter using a Yahoo account started for spam. I only look at 2 friends and my kid's moggies since she's bad about using dropbox for pix. I also use mail apps to get mail. I don't see ads.

    I use no other services for Google. I just get apps. I don't need Now, Hangouts, or maps. Since Google Sky is abandonware and SkEye picked it up, I use SKEye.
    I use the derivative Startpage Ixquick for search and Iron for the extra browser. I see Boat Browser is now allowing Duck Duck Go as an option. I have the alternate browsers as bookmarks and use them on Android anyway.
  20. tweakyleaks

    tweakyleaks New Member

    If you would send mail using your Gmail account through your Earthlink server, it would pass through their hands. And then, when the recipient replies to your Gmail, he is likely to quote your original text. But you never do, so this is hypothetical. Nevertheless, thought it worth mentioning.
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