Friday, April 18, 2014

Ain't That A Kick In The Head...

Okay, now I know I'm treading on my #1 blogson's ground here, but this bears repeating...

Google: We scan all Gmail messages
Few will likely find themselves reading the fine print added to the new terms of service issued by Google this week, but the updated version clarifies to customers once and for all that the contents of messages going in and out of Gmail are being scanned.

On Monday, the search engine site-turned-Silicon Valley giant updated the terms of service that its hundreds of millions of Gmail users must agree to in order to use the immensely popular free email service. But while the latest TOS clause doesn’t exactly reveal any new practices being performed by Google or conditions that’d catch its customers by surprise, the company is now being upfront about its controversial practice of skimming content in order to, as they put it, provide users with “relevant product features, such as customized search results, tailored advertising and spam and malware detection.“
All your e-mail belong to us.

Now, hell, it's a free service, so if you don't like their terms of service, you are cordially invited to turn the product in for a full refund. They need to make their billions somehow, and apparently skimming your e-mail and selling your data to online ad agencies helps pad the books. Now I know how Figi got my address so they can keep sending me bogus tracking information...

Again, you get what you pay for. If you want a secure e-mail, don't expect it from a free service provided by one of the largest online entities going. I'm sure the aforementioned blogson has plenty of ideas on where to go should you wish your e-mail to be more secure (I don't; I try to keep my life so boring that anyone reading my e-mail falls asleep).

But it's something to be aware of for all your e-mail needs...

That is all.

8 comments:

wolfwalker said...

"They need to make their billions somehow, and apparently skimming your e-mail and selling your data to online ad agencies helps pad the books."

TANSTAAFL. If you're getting a service or product for free, and you can't tell what product a company is selling to actually make money, then chances are the product is YOU.

I don't understand why anyone would use Gmail anyway. If you have an account with an ISP -- telephone, cable, DirecTV, website-hosting service, anything -- then you almost certainly have a free email address as part of that account, and probably a web-mail interface for it. Or you can use an offline email client. There's absolutely no reason to use Gmail, Yahoo Mail, or any of the other "free" email services.

Dave H said...

There are several reasons to use a free email service. First of all, it's always available even if you switch ISPs. You don't have to tell all your friends, family, co-workers, customers, vendors, and banks every time you switch ISPs (or have them switched on you - ISPs get acquired just like any other company), and hope they remember.

Or, if you don't have an ISP, you can still use a free email account from a library computer or a someplace with free Wifi.

Or you can use one if you don't want to give your main email address to someone. For example, to register with a Web site so you can download files. I use a Yahoo mail account for that. I call it my spam bait account.

Gmail is actually becoming a poor choice for that last one though, because it ties you to all the other Google services you may be using.

Peter said...

Adblock Plus is your friend. I haven't seen an ad in e-mail for years, and almost never in my browser.

Just sayin' . . .

Bubblehead Les. said...

Well, if they want to peruse my BLNN reports, maybe the Interns who are assigned to do the Scanning will learn something.

Ratus said...

I'm sorry to have to tell you, but all unencrypted email is available to be read by any system it passes through. That is how it was designed.

Emails are like an interoffice memo in a clear envelope.

Don't write anything you don't want posted in public.

Rook said...

This is not a new thing. Google has been scanning gmail messages since day one. While the wording has been 'tweaked' in the TOS many times, it has remained substantially unchanged.

I agree with several of the other commenters in that you cannot assume any real privacy exists on the internet. If you want privacy, you pretty much have to encrypt it. Bear in mind that there are 'traffic monitors' that will flag encrypted messages for special attention by various law enforcement agencies in several countries, the US included, and any encryption that can be created by a computer can be cracked by a computer.

Better to avoid posting personal/private information on the internet at all.

JRebel said...

Hell, about the only thing interesting in my email are the NSFW pics some friends have sent me.

Old NFO said...

ANYTHING you write on line IS being read or scanned by 'something'... Including those you 'think' are secure...