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April 15, 2014

Google outlines email scanning practice in latest update

Google updates its terms of service to reflect its scanning of users' emails.

By CBR Staff Writer

Google has updated its terms of service to reflet that it automatically analyses users’ emails to provide them with customised search results, targeted ads and other features.

Google terms of service states: "Our automated systems analyse your content (including emails) to provide you personally relevant product features, such as customised search results, tailored advertising, and spam and malware detection.

"This analysis occurs as the content is sent, received, and when it is stored."

The latest update comes after US District Judge Lucy Koh ruled that Google terms of service and privacy polices do not notify users about its email scanning processes, which are for commercial purposes.

Google was also sued by the French data watchdog over alleged ‘abusive and illicit’ use of users’ private information last month.

Google’s practise of scanning users’ email has been controversial with privacy groups describing it as an infringement into user privacy.

Gmail users have also accused Google of breaching federal and state privacy and surveillance policies by scanning their emails for advertising purposes.

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The search engine added that the latest update is based on feedback received over the last few months, which it hopes would offer users more clarity.

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