Google filed a brief in federal court last month that says they don’t believe users of Gmail should have a reasonable expectation that their emails are private, and that users should expect their emails to be automatically scanned and processed. They were responding to a class action lawsuit accusing them of violating wiretap law for scanning email on their system so they can serve up targeted ads.
A group, Consumer Watchdog, recently uncovered and released Google’s legal brief. (You can read the brief for yourself here.)
Some of my Facebook friends are responding with outrage to the story, but this is one of those things that people should have been aware of all along.
All the big email systems, Gmail, Yahoo, Outlook, etc, have been scanning your email. It’s how they know to separate spam and junk email from the stuff you want to see. And since they also make money selling targeted ads, OF COURSE Google, Microsoft and Yahoo are scanning them.
Revelations of NSA snooping on email and phone traffic has made us all much more aware of the issue, but advertisers and marketers have always been snooping on us, and they know a heck of a lot more about us than the NSA.