A brief filed by Google's attorneys has just surfaced and revealed that Gmail users should have "no legitimate expectation of privacy"—ever. What the?
Unearthed by Consumer Watchdog, it was filed on July 13, 2013, in response to a class action complaint against Google to the United States District Court for Northern District of California in the hopes that the court would dismiss the case.
The document says that users should assume that any electronic corresponded that finds it's way to Google servers can and may be full accessed and used for a whole lot of things. One of them: selling ads.
According to the motion:
Just as a sender of a letter to a business colleague cannot be surprised that the recipient's assistant opens the letter, people who use Web-based email today cannot be surprised if their emails are processed by the recipient's [email provider] in the course of delivery. Indeed, 'a person has no legitimate expectation of privacy in information he voluntarily turns over to third parties.
In practice, plaintiffs’ theory would prevent ECS providers from providing a host of normal services that Congress could not possibly have intended to criminalize as an illegal interception. For example, an ECS provider could not allow users to sort their emails using automated filters because any such system would require scanning the contents of the emails being delivered to the user, thus running afoul of plaintiffs’ theory. Nor could an ECS provider provide even basic features like allowing users to search their own emails for particular key terms because doing so would, again, involve the scanning of email content.
This behavior is more than just disconcerting, and given that this might translate to it's compliance to NSA requests, where is privacy anyway now? In a statement to RT, Privacy Project director John M. Simpson says:
Google's brief uses a wrong-headed analogy; sending an email is like giving a letter to the Post Office. I expect the Post Office to deliver the letter based on the address written on the envelope. I don't expect the mail carrier to open my letter and read it. Similarly when I send an email, I expect it to be delivered to the intended recipient with a Gmail account based on the email address; why would I expect its content will be intercepted by Google and read?
Read it here:
Google Motion 061313