Sledgstone

Gmail Users Have No Reasonable Expectation Of Privacy

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I'm sure everyone has heard about this already, if not check the links below for the full information on the story:
 
http://www.forbes.com/sites/gregorymcneal/2013/08/20/its-not-a-surprise-that-gmail-users-have-no-reasonable-expectation-of-privacy/
 

Google recently argued that its users lack a reasonable expectation of privacy in messages sent using the service. The legal arguments are fairly non-controversial, relying on a long line of precedents and well accepted court interpretations of existing statutes.

In their pleadings Google also argued that non-Gmail users who send emails to Gmail account holders similarly lack a a reasonable expectation of privacy in the messages they send to Gmail. The arguments were made in court documents filed in June in support of Google’s motion to dismiss a class action lawsuit filed against the company by plaintiffs alleging violations of the Federal Wiretap Act as amended by the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, the Florida, Maryland, and Pennsylvania law analogues of those laws, and California’s Invasion of Privacy Act.


 
 
http://www.salon.com/2013/08/14/gmail_users_have_no_reasonable_expectation_of_privacy/
 



http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=219176873

 

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — Google's attorneys say their long-running practice of electronically scanning the contents of people's Gmail accounts to help sell ads is legal, and have asked a federal judge to dismiss a lawsuit that seeks to stop the practice.

In a federal court hearing Thursday in San Jose, Google argued that "all users of email must necessarily expect that their emails will be subject to automated processing."

The lawsuit, filed on behalf of 10 individuals, is expected to be certified as a class action and is widely seen as a precedent-setting case for other email providers.

The plaintiffs say Google "unlawfully opens up, reads, and acquires the content of people's private email messages" in violation of California's privacy laws and federal wiretapping statutes. The lawsuit notes that the company even scans messages sent to any of the 425 million active Gmail users from non-Gmail users who never agreed to the company's terms.

"This company reads, on a daily basis, every email that's submitted, and when I say read, I mean looking at every word to determine meaning," said Texas attorney Sean Rommel, who is co-counsel suing Google.

And Rommel said "the data that's being amassed by this company" could be used for more than just targeting advertising, although the parts of the lawsuit discussing what more Google might be doing with private information is currently under seal.

"The injury is two-fold: the privacy invasion and the loss of property. Google is taking people's property because they can get it for free as opposed to paying for it," said Rommel.

Judge Lucy Koh said she would consider Google's request to terminate the case, but she said she is also interested in scheduling a trial for next year, indicating she is unlikely to dismiss. She did not say when she would decide.

Scrutinizing Google's privacy policy, Koh noted that it doesn't specify that Google is scanning Gmail when it describes the type of information it's collecting.

"Why wouldn't you just say 'the content of your emails?'" she asked.

Google attorney Whitty Somvichian said that the company is attempting to have a single privacy policy for all of its services, meaning it didn't separately reference every single product.

 

It sounds like Google is saying that everyone's privacy is safe, except for the people that email gmail accounts from email accounts outside of google.. But wouldn't that imply that gmail user is having their incoming emails read and thus their privacy is being affected as well?

 

The thing is, pretty much all email is insecure and people don't realize it.

 

Whenever you send an email, it is on the server you sent it from and another copy of it is on the server it was received at. Key employees at whatever data centers those servers are located in, can access and read that email in its entirety. Emails can also be read by hosting companies, the hosting company's web host and up the chain all the way to the data center staff. The larger the corporation, the more employees that could potentially have access to your email. If you connect to a free wifi somewhere and access your email through a smartphone app that is not set for secure ssl connections, then any wifi network admin can access or log your email and any other user on that wifi system could technically access your email as long as they know how to do it. Email is not secure. All the companies that can access it have privacy policies just like google. All employees are restricted to accessing personal information and are only supposed to do it when assisting a customer with an issue. The shear bulk of email out there pretty much limits individuals from wanting to spy on you specifically, but with all these large companies data mining everything out there, I can see why people would be concerned about their data being used to profile them.

 

From what I've seen, they don't just scan the one email when they display an ad on your page.. they give you massive storage space so it can scan all emails to target their ads for you. What do you think? Is google harvesting people's emails to add to their massive data mining operation? or are they only scanning your emails for advertisements?

 

BTW, have you every used google maps? If you use it over the years then they know your address thats associated to your IP#.. clear your browser cache, delete all cookies, etc.. then go back to google maps, start typing your address and watch how quickly google remembers who you are. ;) (then again, they might have changed this, I haven't tested it lately.)


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