If you are sending email to any of the 425 million users of Gmail, guess what? You have no ‘reasonable expectation’ of privacy or confidentiality, according to the Internet king in a recent court filing.
According to Consumer Watchdog, a pro-privacy advocacy group, stated that this admission is nothing less than stunning. The revelation comes as Google and its competitors are under a great deal of pressure to explain their roles in the NSA’s surveillance of US citizens and foreign nationals.
Google seems to have finally fessed up that they do not respect privacy, according to John Simpson, the privacy project director for Consumer Watchdog. ‘People should take them at their word: If you care about the privacy of your email correspondents, you should not use Gmail.’
Google laid out its case in July in an effort to shoot down a class action lawsuit that accuses the company violating wire tap laws when it scans emails sent from non-Google accounts to target ads to users of Gmail.
That lawsuit, which was filed in May, claimed that Google is illegally opening up, reading and acquiring the content of people’s email. The lawsuit quotes Google’s executive chairman as saying, ‘Google policy is to get right up to the creepy line and not cross it.’
The lawsuit claims that while millions do not know it, on a daily basis, Google is ‘systematically crossing the creepy line to read private email messages that contain information you do not want anyone else to know.’
Google attempted to dismiss the case by saying that the plaintiffs are making an effort to criminalize regular business activities that have been part of the service at Gmail since it started. Google stated that all users of email should expect that their correspondence can be subject to ‘automated processing.’
Google maintains that just as a person who sends a letter to a business cannot be shocked that the assistant for the recipient opens the letter, people who are using web-based email should not be shocked that their emails are processed by the recipient’s email system.
Google is coming under increasing fire – from Facebook’s Graph Search to the EU demanding more concessions in how Google runs its business abroad. That’s what happens when you are on the top of the Internet pyramid.