Titania Security

Users cannot be surprised if their emails are scanned in the process of delivery according to Google

News   •   Aug 16, 2013 10:11 BST

Infosecurity report that Google lawyers are attempting to dismiss legal action being taken against them for illegally intercepting and reading emails. The Google brief which has caused concern is that, "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 communications are processed by the recipient’s ECS provider in the course of delivery."

Many would argue that this analogy is wrong. If you have given permission to your assistant to open your mail you would expect them to open it, however John Simpson the Privacy Policy Director at Consumer Watchdog says, ‘I don’t expect the mail carrier to open my mail and read it.’ Therefore if you give someone access to your Gmail account and ask them to read your mail you expect them to read it- but do Gmail account users understand that by sending or receiving an email they are consenting to Google scanning the content? Google says they do.

They say that the service is funded by targeted advertising which is fuelled by automated scanning of emails and that users are aware of this. The question is just because they are open about scanning these emails, should they be allowed to do it? Even if Google’s claim that users have no expectation of privacy is true, does this mean if we don’t expect privacy we aren’t entitled to it?

For more information about privacy measures put in place by Google see the privacy and policy pages