Google Amends Terms Of Service To Read Your Emails
By Mick Joest 12 months ago
In the ever growing list of organizations who are combing through your private information, you can now add another one of America’s largest companies. Google is now reading your emails! The updated terms of service allows Google to look through your personal communication to better target ads per user. This is similar to what Facebook and other apps do when they access your profile information, but on a much more intimate level.
In response, a class action lawsuit was filed, but it was struck down by a federal judge. According to Economic Times, Google was able to argue no one's privacy rights were being violated because users are opting into its email system. Google has since amended the terms of service stressing that the system will run on automation and not human eyes combing through emails. Google assures users this will better their web experience but others remain skeptical.
In my opinion, with good reason. Most of the emails I send out on a daily basis are primarily work related, or personal exchanges between friends and family. If Google is spying on my work email, they can gain insider information on the inner workings of my business which I know would be illegal for me to share with competition. As for friends and family, I rarely find myself discussing name brand products and other things I might want. So why would any advertising value of what I say come from there? Of course this practice is a bit more personal but no different than what other companies have been doing recently, as well.
Facebook made news a couple years ago for using profile information to make ads. Apps routinely ask for that same information to accomplish the same goal. Microsoft recently came under fire after reports surfaced the NSA was infiltrating Xbox Live and that British intelligence had considered using Kinect (Cameras attached to Xbox) to spy on its citizens. Even mobile phones are being tapped to spy. With Gmail suddenly becoming a whole lot more public, or at least potentially public, one must ask, “what is privacy anymore?”.
Personally, I don't know, but it's certainly weird timing considering Google Glass is now available to the general public for the first time today.