Gmail Officially Scans Your Emails
Google has recently clarified its email scanning practices by updating its Gmail terms of service to inform users that all emails are analyzed by automated software. In other words, the company explicitly states that Google’s system scans the content of emails stored on its servers or sent and received by any Google email account. Of course, this practice has seen Google face criticism from privacy action outfits and lawsuits from the education sector.Google announced that it wants its policies to be simple and easy for everyone to grasp, and the recent changes are supposed to give people even greater clarity and were based on feedback received over the last several months. You should know that Google’s automated systems scan the content of emails for spam and malware detection, as well as part of the company’s “priority inbox” service and tailored advertising.
Of course, people are concerned about it and believe they should be able to completely switch it off if they want to. The company’s ads use data gleaned from your email combined with data from your Google profile (including search results, map requests and YouTube views). In result, the system displays what it considers is relevant in the hope that you are more likely to click on them and generate more advertising revenue.
The email scanning practices of the search giant stretch across Gmail displaying adverts to support the service, while its products for business and education have the turn-it-off option.
The privacy groups argue that such scanning and indexing of emails could be in violation of an American law known as Ferpa (the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act), the main law guarding student educational records. By the way, this particular law was used to launch a lawsuit against Google in California.
Aside from email scanning, the Open Rights Group considers other aspects of the company’s practices most troubling. They say that Google does more dangerous things like information held in Analytics, cookies in advertising and the profiling on individual accounts. The outfit explains that it is the amount of data held on people which should be concerning us, because it’s attractive to government and can leak out in various ways.