Google has recently updated its terms of service, informing users that incoming and outgoing emails are automatically being scanned to help create targeted ads. What better way to show you relevant ads, than reading your email?
The changes took effect Monday April 14, 2014 and specifically indicate that Google is using software to scan email when it is in transit or stored on Google’s servers. Controversial, you say? This isn’t the first time Google has been under heat for breaching user privacy.
As noted by Reuters:
Last month, a U.S. judge decided not to combine several lawsuits that accused Google of violating the privacy rights of hundreds of millions of email users into a single class action.
Users of Google’s Gmail email service have accused the company of violating federal and state privacy and wiretapping laws by scanning their messages so it could compile secret profiles and target advertising. Google has argued that users implicitly consented to its activity, recognizing it as part of the email delivery process.
Here is the exact verbiage from Gmail’s terms of service:
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.
According to Google spokesman Matt Kallman, the terms of service changes “will give people even greater clarity and are based on feedback we’ve received over the last few months.” Well, at least they’re being honest about it, right?