Dominic Rushe has published an article about Google’s response to a lawsuit. The article paints the picture that Google has written a big “fuck you” to users, and thus has Google saying that users are stupid if they think their email isn’t being read, or in Google parlance “scanned”.
Instead of trusting Rushe’s article, here’s a few tidbits I pulled out of the actual legal response:
These protections reflect the reality that ECS providers like Google must scan the emails sent to and from their systems as part of providing their services.
Here, all Plaintiffs who are Gmail users consented to the automated scanning of their emails (including for purposes of delivering targeted advertising) in exchange for using the Gmail service, thus precluding any claim under federal law.
Nope, Rushe was right on the money. Not only does Google believe they have the right to scan all of your emails, but you consented to it by signing up for the service, even though you probably never read those terms.
I’ve been thinking about this a little bit with regard to Google’s forgotten “don’t be evil” mantra. I believe that Google very much believed in that statement when they started, but my question now is twofold:
- Does Google still embrace that mantra?
- If so, how do they reconcile that against statements quoted above?
I think the answer to the first question is a resounding, YES. I very much believe that Google embraces the idea of not being evil.
So, how then does Google reconcile “don’t be evil” with the fact that they are scanning all emails for (more or less) the sole purpose of targeting ads? My best guess is that Google rocks itself to sleep at night citing the fact that the users agreed to this.
All the while knowing, that the users, never read that clause.