Google scans your email to serve you Adverts

Microsoft calls them out - you should be using Outlook

by Mark Hodgkinson Nov 5, 2013 at 11:05 AM


  • Tech News

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    Google scans your email to serve you Adverts
    Microsoft has launched a sensational website to highlight the perils of using Google's Gmail service.
    Redwood has come out fighting in an attempt to steer users away from Google’s email service and to its own Outlook provision. First, Microsoft outlined what it, as an email service provider, does scan for, namely spam, phishing attempts and malware but quickly tuck the boot in by stating that not all providers will scan for keywords used in the text of emails in order to show you relevant adverts.
    Gmail uses words from all your email messages to display targeted ads.
    Not only will Gmail scan the content of messages but it’s also a little bit more sophisticated than that and is able to look at the entire contents of your inbox to identify trends and themes that emerge. Microsoft is also up in arms about the fact Gmail uses words from email messages sent to you from other email service providers to display ads— whether or not the sender has given permission to your email service provider to scan said message.

    Whilst it’s certainly a fairly transparent attempt to get more users to Outlook.com, the issues Microsoft raise are valid and, according to a Survey commissioned by them, the public is in agreement. The survey found that 84% of British people are unhappy with the idea that email providers scan personal emails to target ads, with 55% disapproving strongly.


    Nearly two-thirds (64%) of those polled said they had no idea that their emails could be scanned and used in this way, with 93% agreeing that there should be some sort of ‘opt-out’, if they don’t want their emails looked in on. We’re a bit surprised that wasn’t closer to 100%.

    This isn’t actually news in the sense that we didn’t already know what Google were up to. The revelations first appeared back in August 2013 but since the survey showed that most people are living in ignorance, it’s a worthwhile pursuit by Microsoft, whatever their motives.

    The issue first came to during a class action lawsuit, in the US, which accused Google of contravening US wire tap laws. A submission stated: ‘Just as a sender of a letter to a colleague cannot be surprised that the recipient’s assistant opens the letter, people who use web-based email today cannot be surprised if their communications are processed by the recipient’s email provider in the course of delivery.’
    ‘People who use web-based email today cannot be surprised if their communications are processed by the recipient’s email provider.’ - Google
    Of course, following that, Google came out to reassure the public that their data was safe saying, ‘We’ve built industry-leading security and privacy features into Gmail,’ but there’s still an issue of trust to overcome, we feel.

    Were you already aware of Google’s email scanning policies and, if not, does it make you think twice about using Gmail?

    Source: Keep Your Email Private.com

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