Will email now become totally private?

Your email message might be linked to advertising displayed

Image Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/cogdog/15269708060/

Many of you are probably looking at the title of this post thinking “aren’t emails private anyway?” The answer to this is yes and no. Emails are private in the sense that unless they are hacked etc. then your information is safe. What a lot of people don’t realise is that emails are regularly scanned in order to target adverts which you may be interested in. Ever talked about say watches on email, and then found you get adverts for watch shops and models appear sometime after? This is probably why.

In terms of Google and Gmail, there is going to be a change happening to this default practice. Google are keen to point out that settings have always been available to allow a user to disable this (although we can assume many weren’t even aware this practice goes on let alone being able to override!?) Changes will now occur meaning this will not happen now on its free email platform aswell as its G’suites email.

This is perhaps only half the story however, as Google will still scan certain types of usage to form the basis of adverts which might be relevant to the user. These include:

* Content from any YouTube videos which are watched.

* What is searched for through the Google search engine.

* If you are logged in using Chrome, then anything you view through this.

If today you are interested in this now you know about it, then you can view how Google selects adverts by logging into your Gmail account and clicking the “ad settings” option.

It is important to point out the Google will not totally stop scanning emails, as this will need to continue for the purposes of ensuring spam is kept away or other harmful type intent. Arguably this is for a different reason however.

Many have Gmail accounts, so it will be interesting to see what public opinion is around this. Some won’t be bothered as adverts can be ignored by simply not engaging with them. Others will see this as a potential violation of privacy, even though it is assumed that users consented to this when they signed up for email and also had the option to disable it.

In the “big brother is watching you” age, it again raises questions about what is acceptable whether that be morally, legally or anything else in terms of privacy and data. Many will see the change to the policy as irrelevant. The fact that it occurred in the first place without widespread knowledge is probably the main issue here.

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