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Google admits it's reading your emails

Updates its small print with a peep tweak
Tue Apr 15 2014, 15:28

gmail-logoGOOGLE HAS UPDATED its privacy terms and conditions, eroding a little more of its users' privacy.

Google is so far unapologetic about its changes, despite having created some controversy. The bulk of the responses worry that Google is now able to read users' emails and scan them for its various purposes.

In its terms and conditions the firm said that its users agree that information that they submit and share with its systems is all fair game. Its update, the first since last November, makes the changes very clear.

"When you upload, or otherwise submit, store, send or receive content to or through our Services, you give Google (and those we work with) a worldwide license to use, host, store, reproduce, modify, create derivative works (such as those resulting from translations, adaptations or other changes we make so that your content works better with our Services), communicate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute such content," it said.

"The rights you grant in this license are for the limited purpose of operating, promoting, and improving our Services, and to develop new ones. This license continues even if you stop using our Services."

That is not a new bit, and that text was present in November. The new addition says that this reach is extending further.

"Our automated systems analyse your content (including emails) to provide you personally relevant product features, such as customised search results, tailored advertising, and spam and malware detection," it added. "This analysis occurs as the content is sent, received, and when it is stored."

Google told us that the changes are clarifying, but not really changing anything. "We want our policies to be simple and easy for users to understand," it said in a statement.

"These changes will give people even greater clarity and are based on feedback we've received over the last few months."

Last month as she considered a case against Google, US District Court Judge Lucy Koh explicitly said that many of the search firm's customers do not appreciate what the firm does with their information.

This would be in line with the view that Google put out in 2013. Then it said that its users should not expect any privacy protection.

Then Consumer Watchdog Privacy Project director John Simpson 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. µ


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