Gmail Users Should Have No Expectation of Privacy

EmailA brief filed by attorneys for Google has surfaced making it clear that Gmail users have absolutely no expectation of privacy when using Google’s email service.

The motion is an attempt to get the class action complaint against Google, filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, dismissed.

Included within the motion is Google’s assertion that “…the alleged interceptions occur as part of Google’s normal processes in providing the Gmail service” and “…all Gmail users contractually agree to the scanning of email as part of using Google’s services;”

“While the Plaintiff’s go to great lengths to portray Google in a sinister light, the Complaint actually confirms that the automated processes at issue are Google’s ordinary business practices implemented as part of providing the free Gmail service to the public. This is fatal to Plantiffs’ claims.”

Included in Google’s Terms of Service, TOS, and required by Gmail users to agree to, “advertisements may be targeted to the content of information stored on [Google’s] Services, queries made through [Google’s] Services or other information…Google could use information from users to provide, maintain, protect and improve services (including advertising services) and develop new services.”  (Emphasis added.)

At this point I believe many will openly acknowledge the reality that very few people have actually read the Terms of Service on any new software, software as a service, or app when they click “Agree”.  This seems to be the fatal flaw in the filing of the class action lawsuit against Google.  Users have to know and understand what they’ve agreed to.

How many of us remember the old saying, There’s No Such Thing As A Fre Lunch? Well there’s also no such thing as free email. Google doesn’t provide “free” email out of an abundance of generosity, they do it as an avenue to generate business and income in other facets.

It is also must be acknowledged that all ECS (Electronic Communication Service) providers must scan at least portions of email to properly deliver them to their recipients and for those with added services such as spam filtering or anti-virus scans for malicious attachments, executable files, etc. Google acknowledges that there “systems are also used to display advertisement targeted to email content, as Google has disclosed since the inception of Gmail nearly a decade ago.” (Emphasis added.)

What this discussion boils down to is that Gmail is called “free” but it’s really not, the price you pay is access to the content of your email messages and targeted advertisements as a result of the content. If that doesn’t bother you then Gmail’s Terms of Service should be satisfactory to you.

If you’d prefer the security of email that is not being scanned for content, then a paid email service provider is the way to go.

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