Hey Gmail, whatcha mean we “have no legitimate expectation of privacy”?

So I’m sure you’ve already heard about the surprising (but not so) statement Google made that their Gmail users “have no legitimate expectation of privacy”. Are they saying that we don’t expect privacy from Gmail? Or how can we expect privacy?

We all value our privacy and want companies to respect it but in the end Gmail needs to scan our emails in order to give us the best experience they can. Whether it be, to decide what emails to throw into spam or what to give a star for priority. They also make sure you don’t forget to attach a document or to send an email to the relevant people. This includes showing you ads that are more relevant to you.

In-light of the uproar, Mashable looked into the issue further. Google responded to them saying:

“We take our users’ privacy and security very seriously; recent reports claiming otherwise are simply untrue. 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.”

They wrote that Google wasn’t trying to say that Gmail users have no expectation of privacy, rather that a person who voluntarily turns over his information to a third party can’t expect a large amount of privacy. They have a point, although Google could have been more transparent, and given us users a choice about what personal data they can share. Wouldn’t that be nice?

In the end, don’t we use Gmail to add that simplicity and convenience to our everyday tasks? Yes, it costs us some of our privacy but I’d like to think (or rather hope) that such a large company, like Google, takes only as much of our information as is necessary to give us such a quality service.

4 Responses

  1. Yosl

    Personally, I assumed that everyone understood you weren’t assured complete privacy when using such an open and free product. I am comfortable with data being analysed and thereby providing a better user experience. If I wanted something else then I would expect to PAY a premium cost for that privacy.

    But quite a lot of that then comes down to reliability of the company itself. That’s why these companies must manage their PR ever so carefully.

    Great post, thanks once again!

    Like

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