If you have been using Gmail to send and receive emails, here is a big warning for you.
In a brief filed by Google attorneys that recently surfaced, Gmail users have “no legitimate expectation of privacy.” This was in response to a complaint against the company to the United States District Court for the Northern District of California.
“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. Indeed, ‘a person has no legitimate expectation of privacy in information he voluntarily turns over to third parties,” the brief reads.
Google goes on to quote a 1979 case, Smith v. Maryland, which found that “a person has no legitimate expectation of privacy in information he voluntarily turns over to third parties.”
It was also mentioned that Google has to scan emails of users every time they run a search filter or type in a keyword to look for a specific message. It was further added by the brief that a ruling against it would cripple its business practices.
Consumer Watchdog’s Privacy Project Director John M. Simpson wrote, “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.”
“We take our users’ privacy and security very seriously; recent reports claiming otherwise are simply untrue,” Google said in a statement. “We have built industry-leading security and privacy features into Gmail – and no matter who sends an email to a Gmail user, those protections apply.”
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