Monday, May 14, 2018

Google’s Privacy Policy

Paris Martineau:

Though Google announced that it would stop using consumer Gmail content for ad personalization last July, the language permitting it to do so is still included in its current privacy policy, and it without a doubt still scans users emails for other purposes. Aaron Stein, a Google spokesperson, told NBC that Google also automatically extracts keyword data from users’ Gmail accounts, which is then fed into machine learning programs and other products within the Google family. Stein told NBC that Google also “may analyze [email] content to customize search results, better detect spam and malware,” a practice the company first announced back in 2012.

Via Nick Heer:

It’s bothersome that Google was scooping up users’ emails for ad targeting purposes in the first place, then said that they would stop doing it — after way too long — and has now given itself permission to keep doing so if they want to.

I don’t really understand the issue here. The headline seems misleading:

Remember when Google said it would stop reading your email?

Google only said that it would stop using your e-mail for advertising purposes, and no one is alleging that it didn’t follow through. The privacy policy that’s mentioned says:

When you share information with us, for example by creating a Google Account, we can make those services even better – to show you more relevant search results and ads, to help you connect with people or to make sharing with others quicker and easier.

But this seems to apply to all of Google’s services, so of course it has to say that. Maybe there should be a separate privacy policy for Gmail?

Previously: Google Will Stop Reading Your E-mails for Gmail Ads.

2 Comments RSS · Twitter

Yeah, I think you can disagree with the policy, but still think Google is actually following their word here, but it seems like people are conflating the two things.

>Remember when Google said it would stop reading your email?

What does this even mean? There was never a human being at Google looking at your email, it was always algorithms. And Google has to use algorithms with your emails, it has to read your email into memory and store it in databases and run it through spam filters. Of course Google is "reading" your email, if it weren't, Gmail wouldn't be much of anything.

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