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Google says Gmail users shouldn’t expect privacy, challenges your definition of the word

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Google is taking a lot of heat today after Consumer Watchdog uncovered a brief filed by Google attorney’s on July 13th, 2013 in regards to privacy concerns over the way Google handles users’ emails. In a class action complaint filed against Google to the United States District Court for Northern District of California, Google said that their users should assume that anything electronically sent through Google’s servers is fair game to used for ads, or other purposes.

To put it bluntly, Google says, “a person has no legitimate expectation of privacy in information he voluntarily turns over to third parties.” It’s Google’s statements found in the brief that have Consumer Watchdog’s Privacy Project director John M. Simpson so worked up. In a statement to RT, he says,

“…when I send an email, I expect it to be delivered to the intended recipient with a Gmail account based on the email address; why would I expect its content will be intercepted by Google and read?”

Before you run and grab your pitchforks, first you’ll need to explore your own definition of privacy. While it’s true Google can use this information for targeted ads, Google maintains that ruling against the scanning of emails would unintentionally criminalize a “host” of normal services like performing searches, or adding filters and labels. Without those, services like Gmail wouldn’t be very useful (and possibly cease to exist).

Of course, there are still those that are wary given recent news of company’s like Google complying with NSA requests — a legitimate concern for sure. While it seems the only real privacy anyone can obtain these days is from a life completely unplugged from the internet, I’m curious to hear your thoughts on Google’s idea of privacy? Should the scanning of emails become illegal, or only when used for ads?

You might remember it was almost 2 years ago when Microsoft took a jab at Google with their Gmail Man spoof. For those that missed, the internal corporate video can be found below.

[via Gizmodo]




  • wrceuro

    The price we pay for Free things. Haha it will get even worst because we live in a society where we expect everything to be handed to us for Free.

    • JBrowne1012

      Yeah who needs FREEdom anyways? we’re all stupid robots.

  • Cory Wilson

    I am content as a Gmail user and I literally have nothing to hide, and if I did, I certainly wouldn’t rely on electronic communication regardless. It’s not that I don’t trust google, it’s that I don’t trust any corporation.

    I really don’t mind advertisements catered to my interests so I’ll keep on using Gmail

    • http://twitter.com/gamercore Chris Chavez

      The way I see it, ads catered to my interests are far less annoying than those that aren’t.

      For whatever reason, I keep seeing these Barracuda Networks ads on Firefox and wanna pull out my hair every time.

      On Chrome, I see funny movie trailers, and stuff about games. No biggie. :P

      • Cory Wilson

        Very true!

      • Blake

        Adblock – haven’t seen an ad since 1999 (not quite).

        Hence, I don’t want them seeing anything of mine.

        • ntegrit

          I suggest that AdBlock keeps you from seeing their stuff; it doesn’t keep them from seeing yours.

          • Blake

            No need to suggest, that is obviously the case….

            Hence, my “hence comment”………..

      • Cory Skelton

        Exactly, in fact, there’s been a couple of instances where I actually clicked on the ads that popped up in my e-mail, because I have absolutely NOTHING against ads, but the only ones I enjoy are ones that are advertising something I might want to see advertised. In my case, it’s often TV, books or movies or games or music or cool deals that catch my interest. As you said, ads about something that don’t interest you whatsoever are highly annoying in comparison.

        • No_Nickname90

          Since we’re talking about what we see, I normally see ads for cell phones since that’s all I read about. It kinda sux since I ALREADY know about the deal. LoL!!

          I also see ads for Ford vehicles since I’m always reading about the Ford F-150 SVT Raptor. *crack-addicted*

    • mirage03

      very true!! if you have something to hide, you wouldn’t be online at all.. just hiding

  • DavidVarghese

    Honestly… who thinks that privacy in the technological world exists anymore? The only way to truly have privacy is to fall out of the grid,build a house in the country and live off the land.

    • tomn1ce

      That’s exactly my thought. Whoever thinks that what ever they do online is not monitored is really naive. Just like the NSA scandal -_-

    • JBrowne1012

      Its not about who thinks it, its about what should be, who the hell says that tech should automatically make it a free for all? Privacy needs to be reinstated and not just looked at as “oh well I have nothing to hide” it not about that its about the principle and the more you let this happen the more you are creating the problem. Technology can and SHOULD be private.

  • simpleas

    Suspicion always haunts the guilty mind.

  • Unorthodox

    I hate to break it for those, who files such class actions – privacy in the internet does not exist. All your precious videos and pictures, emails and documents – they are all easily accessible by the personnel of very same companies that host your mail and web servers. Even if you pay for this kind of service, the only hurdle between an admin and your data is the privacy agreement, which frankly is not even a piece of paper. Nothing stops a pervert admin from picking into your mails and simply enjoy it. Let alone the services you get FOR FREE!

  • Marsg

    They do have somewhat of a point, notice how with yahoo or Hotmail/live, there’s a bunch of malware, and they use your account to spam advertisements and such to everyone on your list. Its the whole reason I switched to Gmail 5 years ago, on top of that we also have new features on Google Now that rely on our email conformation, like shipping schedules, tickets etc.. but at the same time theirs also a concern on how Google is using that Data. If they are just selling it to advertisers then it doesn’t really matter to me, i don’t click on advertisements unless one catches my attention. In the end it all comes down to if you would rather prefer a paid or free service, you cant have a free service without something in return, it is a business. Look at the cheaper kindles with advertisements on the lock screen or that new lock screen app called “Locket” that gives you a cent to unlock your device with advertisements, this works in the same way except they give you free services. Its the whole reason why Google is so successful, their services are free so anyone even those in 3rd world country’s can afford to use them.

  • blue720

    For a refresher course on the definition of privacy, I suggest everyone watch ‘enemy of the state’.

    • sc0rch3d

      just the lingerie store scene, right?

    • yankeesrule587

      Excellent movie. Even better, it came out in the 90′s long before we had smartphones, and even longer before people are SUDDENLY afraid of the NSA spying. Theyve been doing it since the late 40s, early 50s. And YES theyve been spying on us as well as our enemies. “Enemy of the State” was an excellent drama based on that too. Im not worried about it.

    • TheHowiie

      great suggestion

  • cooldoods

    I suppose any e-mail service that provides electronic searching through e-mails is scanning. The issue here is whether the user should expect the service to do something with the scanned data other than stipulated. In this case, Google uses the scanned data to send you targeted ads as well as to create notifications about flight details, coupons, appointments, etc. for you in case you use Google Now. As a Google Now user, I think Google’s ability to automatically generate useful notifications from e-mail is an innovative use of a very old but ubiquitous communication standard is remarkable.

    As long as the terms of service do not preclude anything Gmail does with your e-mail, I don’t see any reason for users to complain. If you don’t want anyone or anything scanning your e-mail, run your own SMTP service or go with an e-mail service that explicitly states it will not scan your e-mail other than for search or for virus-scanning and that you trust will keep its word.

  • Aaron Sua

    If I was concerned about my emails being read I’d use PGP! Literally anyone could intercept plain text email. I hardly even notice the ads in gmail, particularly on my android phone. Google can have the heuristics on me if it means I can get better services from them. I’d be far more concerned about Google Now and how connected my searches on my computer tie directly to navigation suggestions on my phone…if it weren’t a great feature that is actually helpful. Read my email and automatically provide me some reminders and suggestions along with a couple ads, who knows I might actually be interested in one every once in a while.

    • jnadke

      And spam filters. Spam filters even a Nigerian Prince would be jealous of.

    • AMbro86

      The thing that I have a hard time with is location based services. I don’t need to “check in” everywhere I go. So gmail scanning my emails? Meh. Google keeping tabs on my location? Okay now I’m getting weirded out. That’s why I keep location based stuff turned off on my phone until I want to use some specific location based feature.

  • jnffarrell1

    Scanning for a keyword supplied by you is in fact private on Google. Google encrypts your search from you to its server farm and back to you. Searching your Gmail is highly valuable to you. On its servers Google knows anytime an ‘engineer’ puts eyes on your file. If unauthorized that person is toast. Engineering experiments that test hypotheses across millions of instances are too costly to let random engineers run amok, even if no single person’s file is viewed by a human. Pretending that automated scanning for search terms and viewing with human eyes is misleading.

    Chernobyl, and the NASA Space disasters teach us that ‘engineering’ experiments outside the design envelope have consequences. In no case should contact info or email contents leak out. Google has hopefully stopped the leaks. If so called ‘advocates’ would stop twisting words and get behind securing personal info on servers with the same 2048 bit encryption that Google uses for transmissions then progress could accelerate.

    • No_Nickname90

      2048 Encryption!? Oh my… The sun would have died twice in the time it would take to decrypt that. =.S

    • AMbro86

      I neither entirely agree or disagree with you. Yes Google is for the most part secure against outside parties. But not 100%. Those hacking incidents from China with Love sure proved how easy it is to get into a server, and thus people’s emails.

      But otherwise people knew from day one that gmail was about email scanning. So anyone getting upset over this probably skipped over the EUA and clicked “Yes” and kust doesn’t understand what gmail has always been about.

  • Jarl

    didn’t Microsoft at some point have in their eula for Hotmail that they could use any content in email sent through Hotmail, including business ideas?
    (which was quickly removed after being discovered)

    question: if I use the standard mail client that comes with android, to get mail from my own isp, will that be scanned by Google as well?

    my answer to the question of this post: I never click on ads, I have nothing to hide, but I’d still prefer Google to stay away from scanning emails.
    I think they get enough info from Google’s search engine and browsing history from Google Chrome

    • Hugo

      >question: if I use the standard mail client that comes with android, to get mail
      >from my own isp, will that be scanned by Google as well?

      no but your ISP and servers between you and the reciever can(it is possible that there’s a Google server along the way)

  • samagon

    I have a gmail account for one reason, to use my android. I actually use it for signing up for crap. I have my own website for cheap and use that email for everything else.

    • aiden9

      Whichever server your website is on scans your emails then to protect itself from legal actions.. Or if you are hosting your own server then your isp is most likely scanning it(in the name of anti-piracy).

      Really if the postal service wanted to get people back into mailing letters they’d advertise the reality of every piece of content you send online is being “intercepted”(scanned).

  • InspectorGadget80

    I have my same gmail way before Android came out. so i don’t know why u guys are bugging bout NSA or the gov’t spying on us and complain on the X PHONE or any Google device and besides we CAN’T FIGHT it. I fu don’t like it then don’t bother buying any technology like tablets or phones ect. their watching us then don’t bother buying tablets or phones when companies are already spying on us with out our PERMISSION.

  • TimTheK

    Since this is the basis of how gmail works and has always worked….and is something that every gmail user agreed to on day one…. there is no issue. Google made and makes it very clear that their servers scan your emails for keywords to deliver relevant advertising. In exchange, you get ‘free’ Google services.

    It all depends on your expected levels of privacy. I expect Google’s servers to scan my email and provide relevant ads. That is what I expect, that is what Google has promised. I have no reason to believe Google is doing differently. They have not violated the terms of the agreement we came to. I don’t expect Google to sell the content of my emails to a 3rd party or hand them over to the government, nor do I expect Google engineers or programmers to be able to read my personal email.

    That is my expectation of privacy. All Google stated in that claim was factual. Your emails are not completely private and secured so that no one or no service can access them because accessing the content of your emails is how their business works and is what you agreed to in the first place.

    There are different levels of privacy. It doesn’t mean nothing you share with 3rd parties is private, it just means that everything isn’t 100% private and that you should read your terms of service.

    • yankeesrule587

      Well said. I dont find issue with it either. Anyone that does had problems.

    • mudylysudyl

      мy coυѕιɴ ιѕ мαĸιɴɢ $51/нoυr oɴlιɴe. υɴeмployed ғor α coυple oғ yeαrѕ αɴd prevιoυѕ yeαr ѕнe ɢoт α $1З619cнecĸ wιтн oɴlιɴe joв ғor α coυple oғ dαyѕ. ѕee мore αт…­ ­ViewMore——————————————&#46qr&#46net/kAgk

      Exactly, in fact, there’s been a
      couple of instances where I actually clicked on the ads that popped up
      in my e-mail, because I have absolutely NOTHING against ads, but the
      only ones I enjoy are ones that are advertising something I might want
      to see advertised. In my case, it’s often TV, books or movies or games
      or music or cool deals that catch my interest. As you said, ads about
      something that don’t interest you whatsoever are highly annoying in
      comparison.

  • androidscales

    is this a apple site all these fud articldsy

    • Robabobbob

      No this an Android site that highlights both the good and bad aspects of the product not just the ones that make it look good.

    • AMbro86

      Well it may be FUD. But really this is in the news everywhere. And it majorly impacts Android users. So is it relevant for this site? Yes. Should we be freaking out about it now when this has been going on since the inception of Gmail? Not so much.

  • TalkingMoose

    This whole story is just a means of getting people who don’t know any better all riled up over nothing. Email has never been private. Anyone expecting it should be, expects wrong. If you want privacy, employ encryption keys.

    • JBrowne1012

      The average user shouldn’t have to result to encryption to be private. Email has ALWAYS been private and expected to be private. The emails are between you and only the person you are contacting using that service. If it is read and intercepted by a 3rd party it is an invasion of expected privacy.

      • ctd1500

        Email has never been truly private, it is sent in plain-text. One could set up a packet sniffer to watch a network for any emails that pass through on their way to their destination server.
        The Internet does not send data directly from server A to server B, the data passes through many different routers along the way, and any one of them could sniff and intercept your email, it doesn’t mean they do, and hopefully they don’t, but they certainly could.

      • Bart Burroughs

        email has never, ever, ever been private. anytime you send anything through a public source it is by definition not private. the internet is a public source. Even if you send a “private” email to your wife on your work computer your company has always reserved the right to check it to make sure company information isn’t being “stolen” or misused in any way.

        • JBrowne1012

          Email isn’t a public source otherwise by that I should be able to get your emails and read them without having to have your username nor password. Work email is within an intranet they make it noted its purpose is only business that is made clear between both parties.

          Actually you should take a look into the ECPA as initially it protected against government authorities from snooping emails w/o a warrant its pretty much was screwed up after the patriot act that removed it and even still it does require a warrant for the government to read emails for the first 180 days.. so by that I would say that by some extent of the law there is reasonable expectancy of privacy.

        • ZombiePete

          The internet is not a public utility; it’s a mesh of multiple private networks interconnected to provide end-to-end connectivity. If it were a public utility we wouldn’t have to go through net neutrality debates.

      • AMbro86

        I agree with @bartburroughs:disqus email has never been private. Also what is this about “interception”? Can an email really be “intercepted” by the service you’re using to communicate? It’s a packaged deal man, it has been from the beginning. Gmail has always been about scanning your emails to present you with targeted ads and to enable you to search your own emails.

        • JBrowne1012

          If you haven’t understood by 3rd party I don’t mean Google I mean 3rd party

          • AMbro86

            It doesn’t matter if Google were a 4th party. My point is that Gmail was conceived this way from the beginning. They told us all up front that they would have computers scan your email for keywords to give us targeted advertising. It’s in the EUA.

          • JBrowne1012

            If you haven’t read the other posts I said I don’t care about scanning programs that better ads its the handing of that info to the gov those a holes need warrants

      • No_Nickname90

        Did you know if you send some mail, it’s allowed to be opened to see if it contains something illegal? Would that be an invasion to your privacy? Do you feel that everything you mail should be between you and the recipient?

        Also, who’s this “3rd-party”? You have to remember you’re using Google’s servers and they TELL you that your email will be scanned for keywords to give you relevant ads.

        It’s like getting upset that you visit someone and they tell you they have cameras in their bathrooms for security. You can’t get upset because you’re being recorded. You already know what you were getting yourself into. Don’t want the cameras? Don’t use their service.

        If you want truly private, talk to them in person on your own private property.

        • JBrowne1012

          Everything mailed/emailed should be between just you and the recipient of course its not exactly that way but to an extent it should be. I am fine with the physical nature of physical mailing services, if something is found like an illegal substance or situation, but searching through emails that should be protected with a warrant and reasonable suspicion. A program with keywords searching through mail for ad purposes is different and is not an invasion but when you have someone actually going through your emails is a bit different and needs to be protected or even when you hand that information over to other people.

          3rd party is anyone not providing the service and not in the conversation. I’m ok with it for bettering advertising purposes as long as it is kept private out of prying eyes.

          If you didn’t know I’m not talking about automated programs that scan words I’m talking about the passing off of emails for being physically read.

    • CalypsoArt

      Just what we would expect from a talking moose.

  • Haggie

    What Google does is not an invasion since they are open about it. If you don’t like it, choose another provider.

    What the NSA does is a privacy violation, because American citizens believe that there are Constitutional protections against widespread government surveillance without cause.

    • No_Nickname90

      Yes. I agree. Google tells you what they’re getting and don’t hide it. I don’t mind Google Ads. I click on them most of the time because they’re actually relevant to me.

      • David Narada Brown

        Thats how its made possible!

    • AMbro86

      Hey I signed a ToS with Google. I didn’t sign a ToS with the NSA. If they want my personal info then they better force Google, MS, Apple, and everyone else to start putting ToS agreements saying the NSA can read my emails as well. At least then they’d be more honest about just what the heck they’re doing.

      • ZombiePete

        As a US citizen you’re subject to the laws of the country. You couldn’t fight the law anymore than Google can; that is to say, you have to elect officials who are willing to stand up to overreaching government and say it’s enough. Google isn’t the one you should be mad at, it’s our increasingly tyrannical government we should be railing against.

  • KrisDiss

    Funny video but, last time I checked, Office 365 wasn’t free. Ads are how Google keeps it’s services free

    • AMbro86

      I also wonder just how free of scanning MS’s service are as well. In other news, the pot calls the kettle black…

      • Joe Kuster

        Having had to negotiate a couple Office 365 contracts for sensitive data situations, I can say that MS seemed to have zero interest in scanning your data. They were quite willing to say that effectively our data is our data. That said, they don’t auto filter/sort stuff for you, but they do give you all the tools to do it yourself.

        • ZombiePete

          Google tells you that your data is yours too. You can go to your account settings and download everything attached your account and then delete it if you want to. I’m sure Microsoft looks through “your” data too.

          • Joe Kuster

            Perhaps, but not likely. We’re talking enterprise contracts in the six to seven figures: Microsoft gives me a contract that gives me monetary recourse if they breach their specifically stated requirements to access anything we store – we have to be on the phone with their engineers and have express consent from our legal and IT rep. Google refused to limit it as everything would be indexed for their use and they specifically get to retain rights against the content – unacceptable terms for us.

  • Juande Maldonado Sánchez

    The other day I was chatting with a friend on Facebook about a specific city. After that, I had a sponsored post in my wall about travelling to that city. O_o!

    • Dan

      Every spring and fall the Mrs. takes the kids to stay at her folks for the week so they can play with their cousins, the last time this happened I emailed a buddy to say that “The wife was taking the kids to her parents” do you want to go to a car show… …with the next page refresh I was getting ads for divorce lawyers..

      • http://www.twitter.com/OtisFeelgood1 OtisFeelgood

        LOL

      • AMbro86

        That’s awesome! Uh, in a creepily lovable way.

        • Dan

          Give it a try. Just send some randomly concocted email to a friend (let them know what’s going on) directly through the gmail webpage and see what ads start popping up.

  • Guest

    I read the majority of the 34 comments and am a little surprised.

    Let me get some statements out of the way before I continue:
    - I enjoy using my Gmail
    - I am grateful for a free service
    - I don’t have anything to hide
    - I don’t mind the scanning of my email for ads to push at me or for improving my GoogleNow experience. (It’s the definition of “other purposes” that I take issue with)

    The notion that we “shouldn’t” expect our any in our society/citizenry to take issue with a corporation, like Google or the like, using our personal emails for “other/undisclosed” purposes is shocking to me. Yes, technology such as Android and the Google Eco-system have positively added to my life. But the fact that my government, for example the NSA, can demand access to my private communication in secrecy; then gag the requesting company/person/entity from speaking about these request are actions beyond the scope of the US constitution and outside my definition of privacy. Having no expectation of privacy should not trump the safeguarding of civil liberties. The question for me is not JUST about privacy. Rather, the question for me is: are the emails we compose and the documents we create via the Google Ecosystem our personal property? If so, then we have a right to say who can have access to our personal property and demand to know when anyone is laying claim to that property. Does a free service like Gmail or Evernote mean we cannot lay claim to our digital files as our own? Does a paid service like Dropbox Pro mean we cannot lay claim to our rights as owners of our personal digital property? No one here would agree to a Landlord can randomly entering the apartments of his/her tenanty unannounced and without their knowledge/permission, at anytime that he/she wills?

    I’m a little surprised to see the portrayal of someone,anyone, who objects to Google’s above stance as people who are demanding something absurd or who are guilty, with comments like:

    - “If you don’t like it, choose another provider.”
    - “Anyone that does had problems.”
    - “Suspicion always haunts the guilty mind.”

    We do live in America… “Conscience is the most sacred of all property; other property depending in part on positive law, the exercise of that, being a natural and unalienable right” (James Madison, “Father of the Constitution.”)

  • Guest

    I read the majority of the 33+ comments and am a little surprised.

    Let me get some statements out of the way before I continue:
    - I enjoy using my Gmail
    - I am grateful for a free service
    - I don’t have anything to hide
    - I don’t mind the scanning of my email for ads to push at me or for improving my GoogleNow experience. (It’s the definition of “other purposes” that I take issue with)

    The notion that we “shouldn’t” expect our any in our society/citizenry to take issue with a corporation, like Google or the like, using our personal emails for “other/undisclosed” purposes is shocking to me. Yes, technology such as Android and the Google Eco-system have positively added to my life. But the fact that my government, for example the NSA, can demand access to my private communication in secrecy; then gag the requesting company/person/entity from speaking about these request are actions beyond the scope of the US constitution and outside my definition of privacy. Having no expectation of privacy should not trump the safeguarding of civil liberties. The question for me is not JUST about privacy. Rather, the question for me is: are the emails we compose and the documents we create via the Google Ecosystem our personal property? If so, then we have a right to say who can have access to our personal property and demand to know when anyone is laying claim to that property. Does a free service like Gmail or Evernote mean we cannot lay claim to our digital files as our own? Does a paid service like Dropbox Pro mean we cannot lay claim to our rights as owners of our personal digital property? No one here would agree to a Landlord can randomly entering the apartments of his/her tenanty unannounced and without their knowledge/permission, at anytime that he/she wills?

    I’m a little surprised to see the portrayal of someone,anyone, who objects to Google’s above stance as people who are demanding something absurd or who are guilty, with comments like:

    - “If you don’t like it, choose another provider.”
    - “Anyone that does had problems.”
    - “Suspicion always haunts the guilty mind.”

    We do live in America… “Conscience is the most sacred of all property; other property depending in part on positive law, the exercise of that, being a natural and unalienable right” (James Madison, “Father of the Constitution.”)

  • TeeRod

    I read the majority of the 34 comments and am a little surprised.

    Let me get some statements out of the way before I continue:
    - I enjoy using my Gmail
    - I am grateful for a free service
    - I don’t have anything to hide
    - I don’t mind the scanning of my email for ads to push at me or for improving my GoogleNow experience. (It’s the definition of “other purposes” that I take issue with)

    The notion that we “shouldn’t” expect any in our society/citizenry to take issue with a corporation, like Google or the like, using our personal emails for “other/undisclosed” purposes is shocking to me.

    Yes, technology such as Android and the Google Eco-system have positively added to my life. But the fact that my government, for example the NSA, can demand access to my private communication in secrecy; then gag the requesting company/person/entity from speaking about these request are actions beyond the scope of the US constitution and outside my definition of privacy. Having no expectation of privacy should not trump the safeguarding of civil liberties.

    The question for me is not JUST about privacy. Rather, the question for me is: are the emails we compose and the documents we create via the Google Ecosystem our personal property? If so, then we have a right to say who can have access to our personal property and demand to know when anyone is laying claim to that property. Does a free service like Gmail or Evernote mean we cannot lay claim to our digital files as our own? Does a paid service like Dropbox Pro mean we cannot lay claim to our rights as owners of our personal digital property? No one here would agree to a Landlord can randomly entering the apartments of his/her tenants unannounced and without their knowledge/permission, at anytime that he/she wills?

    I’m a little surprised to see the portrayal of someone,anyone, who objects to Google’s above stance as people who are demanding something absurd or who are guilty, with comments like:

    - “If you don’t like it, choose another provider.”
    - “Anyone that does had problems.”
    - “Suspicion always haunts the guilty mind.”

    We do live in America… “Conscience is the most sacred of all property; other property depending in part on positive law, the exercise of that, being a natural and unalienable right” (James Madison, “Father of the Constitution.”)

    • Scotsman of Loch Ness

      “- I don’t mind the scanning of my email for ads to push at me or for
      improving my GoogleNow experience. (It’s the definition of “other
      purposes” that I take issue with)”

      I would subtract Filtering and auto labelling from the “other purposes”. I am currently enjoying two of the extra filters that google has put into their e-mail: “Social” and “Promotions”

      I don’t mind if they use an autoscanner for these purposes. The big question is what are these “other purposes” Google is “reading” the e-mail for?

    • CalypsoArt

      I vaguely remember when two young guys started a company they chose as their motto “Don’t be Evil” . Turns out is was, “Don’t be Evil? Meh.

      One of the reason I come to this site is the comedy of reading posters gush about their chosen corporate master, as opposed to the competing corporate masters. You know we’ve arrived when you see cars with Google stickers on their windows just like the little white apples that are everywhere.

      “When the service if free, YOU are the product”

      • mgamerz

        I’m sorry but hotmail/outlook sucks.

        • AMbro86

          Actually I find Outlook.com to be one of the best Microsoft services I’ve ever used. In fact, it’s the sole reason I have any love of Microsoft these days. Windows 8 is crap, the Xbone is disappointing, Windows Phone is really boring, the rest of Microsoft’s assets are circling the toilet, and the only thing that keeps them profitable is their Office software.

          But Outlook.com? I use it reguilarly, and it’s actually really good. It’s clean, it’s functional, and it’s easy to use. It reminds me a little of Gmail when it first started. It’s clearly different then Gmail, but it gives that sense of newness. In fact it’s everything Microsoft is not currently, which is surprising to me. Once you get past the “Metro” design it’s really not that bad. And it’s a million years ahead of Hotmail.

          That said, I am totally a Google fanboy and I would love to ditch Windows for a full on Google OS if they would come out with something better than Chrome OS.

          • mgamerz

            I’ve used WP, it’s boring. Outlook is just a reskinned hotmail. I didn’t like hotmail’s UI that much (I really hate the pane interface since you always have to scroll emails). I’m sure you can get rid of it.

            I’ve also found their spam filters are terrible compared to gmails. I get spam in both but gmail filters pretty much every single spam email.

            I have a chromebook, and chrome OS is pretty nice actually. I can write papers on it and stuff for college. Just don’t expect to run any specialized apps. Reviewers make it sound incapable, but it’s perfect for any general use. I use mine all the time. And you can load up Ubuntu (although its still kinda buggy, but usable) onto it if you need more power… though at 2GB ram its not going to be that impressive.

    • ZombiePete

      You’re confusing interactions with the government, who we have no choice but to engage with, and interactions with a private corporations. You agree to terms of service when you decide to use their services; it’s not forced on you, and Google is not violating your civil liberties.

  • Bobbbrrr

    Back in the late 1990′s/early 2000′s there were rumors of “Carnivore” which was suppose to be a federal program that constantly monitored emails, text messages, phone calls, etc. I have never expected any electronic exchange to be 100% private. There have been countless hacks, interceptions, exploits, etc. to a number of services. Some intentional, some unintentional. It’s like the old adage of if two people know about something, it’s not a secret, because someone is likely to tell another.

  • If i dont have 15,000+ comment

    Goofle steals your data and sells it to advertising companies.

    • Leonardo Leal

      It really doesn`t steal anything… you CHOOSE to use their services. In the terms It’s explicit that they can use information for targeted advertising and search enhancement and other things… http://www.google.com/policies/privacy/

    • If i dont have 15,000+ comment

      How do they steal something that you willingly gave to them?

      Dumb troll

      • AMbro86

        Okay Gollum/Smeagol. You made your points.

  • David Narada Brown

    ITS 2013 PEOPLE, who puts G-14 classified information in texts, post, emails, or any other written form? Take a note from good criminals and deliver top secret information in person! And make sure your not being recorded. WELL, I settled my privacy concerns how about u? I just dont understand this argument, yes i believe our messages should be private but are you really goin to put out information you dont want shared? I like Gmail, I like google services, I LIKE GOOGLE! does this make me a fanboy? lol

  • Bobby Phoenix

    I agree with Google. I actually expect anything I put online either be it an email, cloud storage, social network, or what have you, to be able to be read by anyone with an ounce of computer knowledge of how to crawl the web looking for back doors to information. It doesn’t matter how secure a program is, or how strong a password you use. If you use a program to do anything that mean it was created by someone with programming skills who did their best to make it safe, stable, and usable. That also means if it was created with programming skills then the code used to created it can be cracked, and used against it. For me if I need to send something that is only meant for one person, and I must use the web, then I encrypt it about three times with different programs. At least then I know I did my best to deter someone from trying to access it.

    • AMbro86

      Exactly!! You know, I know people who don’t give a second thought to what they put all over facebook or other online places. But I’ve always considered that what I do online is about like going out in public. Anything I write, anything I do, it’s all public.

      When people fail to understand this concept then you have those that get fired from their jobs because they called their boss a pompous a-hole while being friends with said boss. I mean really? C’mon people. The online world is full of fun stuff, but it’s still a very public forum. And if you don’t want your mom, grandma, girlfriend, or ecclesiastical leader (and increasingly Uncle Sam too) to see what you put out there then maybe you’d better just not say it in the first place.

      If you really expect privacy above all else then using a VPN, encryption, and very little social media will be the only way to really ensure that your activity online stays anonymous.

    • Joe_HTH

      You’re a Google shill who will make excuses for everything they do, just like every other idiot on here.

  • ZombiePete

    Is this really something that surprises people still? Really? Do we not yet understand Google’s business model and why they offer all these great free services, operating systems, etc? If you don’t like Google’s revenue generating model, don’t use their services. I swear, it’s lack of consumer savvy and empowerment that is destroying this country.

    • CalypsoArt

      Nah, It’s accepting zombies who think they are so much more informed and savvy than their fellow citizens that is,….well I wont say “destroying”, but definitely dividing the country against itself for the sake of obscene amounts of money.

      • glumlord

        As an IT Tech I know that rarely can you guarantee anything is private when bits and bytes are involved.

        With that in mind, I really have nothing to hide. If Google skims my content for keywords to provide ads which I never click on so it can provide better services for free.

        I’m ok with that and many others are also.

        I guess if you aren’t ok then use another service, it is a service and no one is forcing you into using it ;)

      • ZombiePete

        Where are my obscene amounts of money? Am I not cashing in somehow? Dammit!

  • jschu22

    I understand that true privacy is technically impossible via the internet but that does not mean a reasonable amount cannot be expected. By reasonable I mean that I accept email scanning for the purpose of relevant ads and my employer when I am sending via their servers. I even accept the reality that there are those that choose to go out of their way to access my data for malicious purposes and I must be diligent in my own protection against that. Beyond all those is what i consider private. What concerns me are statements like “a person has no legitimate expectation of privacy in information he voluntarily turns over to third parties.” because that’s not an individual’s intention when they send an email to another through their personal account, such as gmail.

    If the privacy of my electronic communication is compromised strictly for marketing purposes, then say that. It wasnt. What was said is significantly more concerning.

  • Artur Kulczynski

    There is no privacy in the digital age. I need to get myself a set of t-shirts that say that and wear them all the time ’cause it’s the truth.

  • miso_sori

    I gave Google permission to search terms and other things in my email, so I have no complaints there. I was willing to trade off some privacy for convenience. When it comes to the NSA or any other person, group, organization, etc. that I did NOT give permission to, they need to stay the hell out of my email! Overly broad search warrants are illegal and unconstitutional. We should be holding our congressional representatives accountable and demanding answers and action to resolve this problem(like the Amash-Conyers amendment).
    If someone chooses to give up their own privacy it is one thing, but to violate someone’s privacy without their consent is inexcusable IMO.

    • mirage03

      true..

  • Montrale Hammonds

    Obviously phandroid didn’t actually read the report and are just rewriting what they found in their RSS feed because if they did they would’ve known Google was referring to people who DON’T use gmail and decides to email a gmail user smh…bloggers

  • spicymeatball

    It isn’t a person looking at emails. It’s a program that runs algorithms to place the adds. Crazy how Microsoft is trying to spin this against Google. They are as bad as Apple trying to take down Google through legal means instead of competition. Smear campaigns is all this is.

    • Hubert Hammack

      It’s the same thing, and Microsoft never said individual people were reading the emails. Microsoft’s ad, while petty, is 100% accurate and you know it.

      • spicymeatball

        It is taking someone’s fear that a person is reading everything I write and playing on that. That is not the same fear that a computer is parsing my emails and tagging it with adds that people have. Intelligent people recognize that this has been going on since the beginning of gmail. How else would the context specific ads show up in my emails. People have to think and read between the emotional rhetoric. And if you look at what they are implying and not just stating Microsoft is misleading.

  • deh2002

    I have nothing to hide at all. This coming from a man that dislikes and distrust everything our gov’t does.
    If you want privacy there are ways of achieving it.

  • Steve

    Its an algorithm, I have a better chance of thousands of people keylogging my id and password than a google employee reading what I want my wife make for dinner. I dont trust anyone, but the numbers alone make it safe.

  • Mario Durand S.