Google says you have “No legitimate expectation of privacy” in email. Are you surprised?

Google says you have “No legitimate expectation of privacy” in email. Are you surprised?

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Over the last few months you’ve heard a lot about how Google is violating its users’ trust and privacy. From reading every single word of every single email sent to or from your Gmail account, to replacing real shopping search results with paid ads, to sharing your personal information with app developers, to monetizing the web searches that kids do in school, Google has made a mission out of invading your privacy to commercialize your most personal information.

You’d think that after all of that coming to light Google would apologize, right?  Wrong – they did just the opposite.  A few weeks ago, in an official response to a class-action lawsuit accusing Google of illegally reading Gmail users’ private messages, Google said 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. Indeed, “a person has no legitimate expectation of privacy in information he voluntarily turns over to third parties.” 

You’re reading that right – Google is saying that because your emails pass through their servers, you should expect that they’re reading it. And Google gives an example: just like if you send a colleague a letter you should assume that their assistant is reading it. 

But common sense says that’s ridiculous; clearly, when you send a personal communication to a friend or colleague, either on paper or online, you expect that the message will be read only by that person.  (BTW, that’s why it’s a US federal crime for letter carriers – or anyone who’s not you – to open your mail without permission while it’s en-route to your mailbox.)

    

It gets worse.  Not only does Google think you shouldn’t expect privacy in email, they think you shouldn’t expect to have privacy when you’re using WiFi in your own home.  Just a few days ago, the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the interception of personal data transmitted on private Wi-Fi routers by Google Street Cars (yes, the same ones you see driving around your neighborhood taking pictures of your house) might violate federal wiretapping laws.   According to the FCC, Google Street Cars, without permission, “…collected names, addresses, telephone numbers, URL’s, passwords, e-mail, text messages, medical records, video and audio files, and other information from internet users in the United States.”

Oh…and did we mention that they’re actually trying to patent Scroogling? Google may say one thing to consumers, but their true colors always come
out in court.

It’s not just us who thinks that Google’s stance on consumer privacy is harmful to
consumers:

  • Consumer Watchdog recently said “If they [Google] take privacy seriously, then they must amend their brief and stop reading and analyzing the content of email we send to their system.”
  • Business Insider’s Ira Kalb says that “Google crossed the creepy line, and it owes everyone an apology.” 
  • And Molly Wood at CNET says that Google is freaking scary, full stop.“

There are over 360,000 signatures on the petitions to tell Google to stop reading their private email and stop sending Gspam directly to their email inboxes.  If you think you should expect privacy in email, you can sign this new petition to add your voice and send a clear message to Google.

At Microsoft, we believe that you SHOULD have a legitimate expectation of privacy. That’s why Outlook.com doesn’t read the contents of your personal communications to target you with ads.  We prioritize your privacy.

To see our new ads, educate yourself about how Google monetizes your personal communications, and see why Outlook.com is a smarter choice for email, visit the Scroogled site.

Comments
  • I've already converted from Google Drive to Sky Drive.  The next step is to convert Gmail!

  • Is this the same Microsoft referred to in the NSA leaks?

    The one that owns Skype?

    LoL

  • Microsoft you are dead to me. Keep pointing fingers instead of succesfully innovating.

  • I agree that Google seem to be the most aggressive invaders of privacy (possible NSA matters aside) and I've switched from Gmail to Oulook.com, but as I understand it Microsoft intends to use things we search for on our own computers in Windows 8.1 for targeted advertising.  With SmartSearch enabled, things we search for - not just searches for online content but also searches for files and apps on our own PCs, will be sent to Microsoft so that they can sell the data to advertisers.  How that practice fits with their Scroogled campaign I'm not quite sure.

  • Microsoft.

    Please do dig a hole and stay there. You are not fit for modern society.  

    Look at yourself before you point fingers at others.

  • MS Hotmail reads my Hotmail and targets ads too. Just not as efficiently as Google. Either way one shouldn't expect any online communications to be "private".

  • I must be one of the only people in America who actually read the Google agreement that told me that in return for giving me a free email account, they were going to read the content of my emails. This is for targeting ads. It was a fair quid pro quo, but by now as Google has expended its services they know a whole lot more about you.

    Caveat emptor.

  • Lol Microsoft, go die in a corner. You're just alive because of your stupid pre-historic OS that is being pushed to people by some governments in the education business. Smart people use Unix based systems.

  • Microsoft was the FIRST company to sign up for NSA PRISM.  How can you even dream of pointing fingers?  You (we) are all screwed.

  • It's a good thing we can trust Microsoft to only hand over all of our emails to whatever government agency comes asking for them. At least they aren't reading them themselves...

  • Great, just what we need more deceitful marketing from Microsoft.

    Here's what Google really said:

    www.theverge.com/.../yes-gmail-users-have-an-expectation-of-privacy

  • I love Microsoft!  Outlook.com is so much more efficient and useful than Gmail, I have my SkyDrive, it's a beautiful thing!

  • Microsoft respects your privacy: yes it does.

  • t.now.msn.com/michael-hayden-ex-cia-and-nsa-director-says-gmail-is-preferred-email-provider-of-terrorists

  • Seriously Microsoft you really have to create a Gmail migration tool in Outlook.com for us to move our contacts, mail, docs etc from Google to Outlook and SkyDrive the later can wait, but the mail, contacts is a must.

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