Did you ever wonder if anyone other than the recipients reads your mails sent over Gmail? Find the answer from Microsoft!
The answer to the above questions is YES and Microsoft has been advertising this point in its latest Gmail Man advertisement. So, the next doubt is going to be who reads your mails sent over Gmail ?
Obviously the automatic bots read the mails. Why? To show targeted contextual advertisements beside the mail. You must have observed that in mails containing keywords like marriage might show up matrimonial sites’ ads beside the mail. So, to show the users related advertisements Google bots scan through all the mails.
Is it only the bots? Can’t someone working at Google read our mails ?
Christopher Cuong Nguyen (who was responsible for Google Apps operations at Google) says that only a minor part of Google employees can have access to our mails. This is what he said on Quora:
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A small number of Gmail-related engineers have access to the servers as a matter of necessity to do their jobs; a very small number of people actually access the contents as a matter of necessity to do their jobs, and even then, almost always only the associated metadata. The rest have to file a request and justify any access they ever need, which is extremely rare. All have to sign paperwork re users’ privacy at the risk of dismissal & legal action, knowing that whatever they do is discoverable.
What is Microsoft doing about this ?
Microsoft has been pointing out this “issue” as a reason to woo users to migrate to their Hotmail and Office 365 instead of Gmail and other apps.
Here is a funny advertisement recently released by Microsoft on Youtube:
So, should we have to worry ?
Whenever your Gmail account is logged in, videos you watch on YouTube get connected into that same profile. And it’s worth noting that while Google has recently claimed they “aren’t doing anything new,” it’s clear from their letter to Congress that their new policy allows them to cross-index your YouTube viewing information with your Google search behavior (something their policies explicitly prevented them from doing until these changes).
So what looks on the surface like a simple choice of email provider has an iceberg-size set of implications below it. Since their announced changes provoked a backlash, Google has been trying to characterize them as “simpler,” “easier” and “more consistent.” And finally, they keep trying to assert that they haven’t made it any harder to control what gets collected about you.
Well this is in fact the second campaign by Microsoft against Google. It has previously conducted a campaign against Android phones on twitter announcing a free Windows phone to those who have suffered a malware attack on Android phone. The campaign was conducted on twitter.
So, what are you going to do if someone reads your Gmail?