ACCORDING TO RIGHTS GROUP Consumer Watchdog, Google's Gmail service should not be used by anyone who cares about their personal privacy or the privacy of their correspondents.
Consumer Watchdog has unearthed a court document that includes comments from Google. In those documents the firm made a rather alarming statement about privacy.
"Just as a sender of a letter to a business colleague cannot be surprised that the recipient's assistant opens the letter, people who use web-based email today cannot be surprised if their emails are processed by the recipient's [email provider] in the course of delivery," Consumer Watchdog quoted Google as saying.
Consumer Watchdog noted, further quoting Google, "Indeed, 'a person has no legitimate expectation of privacy in information he voluntarily turns over to third parties'."
Google's reputation with respect to its users' privacy is somewhat compromised. It has been criticised for snarfing private WiFi data and various other aspects of its business practices.
Consumer Watchdog Privacy Project director John Simpson said that Google has admitted that it does not respect privacy, and advised anyone that wants privacy to look elsewhere for email services.
"Google has finally admitted they don't respect privacy, People should take them at their word; if you care about your email correspondents' privacy don't use Gmail," he said.
"Google's brief uses a wrong-headed analogy... I expect the Post Office to deliver the letter based on the address written on the envelope. I don't expect the mail carrier to open my letter and read it. Similarly when I send an email, I expect it to be delivered to the intended recipient with a Gmail account based on the email address; why would I expect its content will be intercepted by Google and read?"
Google has not yet responded to our request for comment. µ