View Poll Results: Is scanning of GMail for advertising purposes an invasion of privacy?

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34. You may not vote on this poll
  • Yes, full stop

    8 23.53%
  • Yes, as even if I don't use it my mails to GMail users get scanned

    4 11.76%
  • No, it's an opt-in service, if you don't agree with the terms, don't sign up

    19 55.88%
  • No, it's only adverts after all - I can ignore/filter them

    3 8.82%
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Thread: Automated scanning of GMail - invasion of privacy?

  1. #1
    Ex-MSFT Paul Adams's Avatar
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    Question Automated scanning of GMail - invasion of privacy?

    Mark Rasch of SecurityFocus has written an article with his view on the automated scanning of emails being an invasion of privacy - giving GMail's ability to display "relevant" adverts based on the contents of emails you are reading.

    Here is that article


    This poll is purely about the scanning of GMail with a view to displaying adverts for "interested" parties, not email in general and no "thin end of the wedge" allowing the government(s) to enforce their own keywords & actions.
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  2. #2
    F.A.S.T. Butuz's Avatar
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    "No, it's an opt-in service, if you don't agree with the terms, don't sign up "

    Sums up my thoughts.

    Butuz

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    iMc
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    ditto Butuz.

    Personally i think Gmail sounds good.
    HEXUS|iMc

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    IIRC the idea of gmail is that you get unlimited space, and to pay for that they display targeted ads. Also i heard somewhere that you cannot delete any of the messages, they are kept indefinately.

    Well, one of my mail providers is already offering a free unlimited mailbox. It does not send me any targeted spam (in fact i get 0 spam to that mailbox as i use it very selectively). There are ad banners on pages but thats the normal type that you get everywhere. I know i'd rather have that than have my mail scanned. And the point about people sending to Gmail is valid as well - not everyone knows about it.
    Tough on mirrors, tough on the causes of mirrors.

  5. #5
    Senior Member klarrix's Avatar
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    Today consumers are asking for the Moon on a stick- GMail is offering almost unheard of amounts of space considering it's a free provider, so by all means they should have the cheek to push a few adverts upon people.

    Don't like it? Go elsewhere IMO, it's childish to presume that any service on the net is 'free'. Expenses have to be covered somehow and personally i prefer it to be this way then being charged a monthly or yearly fee: you only have to click 'x' on the popups now and then, and it's standard procedure to have a spyware checker nowadays.

    As for scanning emails, the word 'Scan' suggests that it is an automatic and impersonal service and so i really do wonder how the machine could use the information against you. It isn't like other emails and text messages aren't being scanned for words like 'Bomb' 'Guns' and 'Kill' already by the authorities, so i can't bring myself to beleive this will be much worse.

    Also, can anyone verify whether if the ads being provided are more likely to be relevant to the recipiant then surely they are less likely to be 'spam'? Or are all pop-ups classed this way?

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    But there are providers there who are no different from other standard free mail services and yet they also offer unlimited space. Without scanning. Without pop ups. And for free.
    Tough on mirrors, tough on the causes of mirrors.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kirb
    Also, can anyone verify whether if the ads being provided are more likely to be relevant to the recipiant then surely they are less likely to be 'spam'? Or are all pop-ups classed this way?
    I believe the de facto definition of spam is simply unsolicited mail, relevance doesn't come into it.

    I believe most pop-ups on websites are controlled in 2 main ways:
    - fixed/random adverts from a list of sponsors of the website
    - "directed" adverts for products you may be interested in, based on your purchasing/browsing history on that site (or possibly partner sites)

    But this concept of GMail's methodology has raised the question of companies marketing their products via email already.
    If I sell widgets, and you visit my website and express an interest in learning more about (my) widgets which I then email to your (GMail) address.
    You view the email about widgets in your browser, and the intelligent scanning service at GMail picks up the keyword "widget" and finds one of its sponsors to display an advert - one of my competitors.


    Whether the information is used on a per-view basis I don't know - who's to say that they don't keep records of the matched keywords for future reference to get trends, and monitor which adverts are more likely to get click-throughs?

    Now this doesn't particularly concern me either, but privacy keen people find the mere possibility abhorrent - even if it is a free service.

    I think it was David pointed out, this is like being given a free lunch and then complaining about the choice of crisps.
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  8. #8
    Ex-MSFT Paul Adams's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dkmech
    But there are providers there who are no different from other standard free mail services and yet they also offer unlimited space. Without scanning. Without pop ups. And for free.
    Actually, Gmail doesn't use pop-ups, and it is free - and if an online email service provides AV or spam filtering, it's scanning your emails already.


    From Google's own FAQ:
    Quote Originally Posted by Google
    8. Are there ads in Gmail?

    There are no pop-ups or untargeted banner ads in Gmail. Like Google search results pages, Gmail does include relevant text ads on the right side of the page. The matching of ads to content is a completely automated process performed by computers. No humans read your email to target the ads, and no email content or other personally identifiable information is ever provided to advertisers.

    Ads are matched using the same technology that powers the Google AdSense program, which already places targeted ads on thousands of sites across the web by quickly analyzing the content of pages and determining which ads are most relevant to them. Here's a sneak peek of how ads look in Gmail.
    ~ I have CDO. It's like OCD except the letters are in alphabetical order, as they should be. ~
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  9. #9
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    Of course not, its a voluntary (FREE) service. Thats generaly the clear cut idea on anything like this I believe.

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    i have a gmail account and i'm not fussed about google's servers looking at my private email and choosing three relevant unobtrusive text adverts beside it.

    Quote Originally Posted by dkmech
    Also i heard somewhere that you cannot delete any of the messages, they are kept indefinitely.
    i have been able to delete messages, although this could be something to do with googles policy of never deleting anything*. it just hides it from my view, which is fine for me.

    * from reading a lot of information on google i get the impression that they never delete anything, however i may be incorrect.



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