If you send an email to a friend who has a Gmail address, then according to Google’s own admission, “You have No Legitimate Expectation Of Privacy”, as brazenly announced by Google in August 2013.
1. Any payment extorted by intimidation, as by threats of injurious revelations or accusations.
Would you be surprised to find out that Gmail actually modifies the text of personal emails if either the sender and/or the recipient of the email are using Gmail? You can conduct a test of your own to verify. Just send a Youtube link to or from a Gmail server. You will see that it has automatically replaced the Youtube link with a hyper-linked Title of the Youtube Video! Test it out. Send an email with a Youtube link (such as this one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=–qp1hzsDCM ) to your Gmail account. It will show up with the Title of the Youtube video as shown on Youtube itself, instead. This clearly shows that all of our emails are scanned.
Gmail might not ultimately fit into the above definition of blackmail, however the payment being extorted doesn’t necessarily have to be a payment in “money”. In today’s world, “information” is a form of currency, which can be traded with a 4th party for real money or other favors, which can be secretly transacted under contract. In such a potential situation the recipient Gmail user would be the 1st party. You, the sender of email to your friend, the 2nd party. Google who processes, analyzes and stores your email content is the 3rd party. The 4th party could either be a government agency, another data-mining corporation, or perhaps a private investigator. Email goes along way today doesn’t it?
Google has stated, in 2013:
“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 [e-mail provider] in the course of delivery. Indeed, ‘a person has no legitimate expectation of privacy in information he voluntarily turns over to third parties.'”
What they are saying is that sending email to Gmail users means you expect Google’s servers will process it. However, a line in the sand should be drawn if and when Google turns everyone’s private email information into information “currency”. Selling email information to data-mining agencies or companies should not be allowed; even for us in targeted advertising. Perhaps you are sending your employees or a data-center a new password for the company’s webserver? Should that information really be available to potential hackers or competitors? Or imagine how many emails contain credit card or other personal financial information? The problems caused by your emails being archived forever and used by an overreaching state or corporations is limited only to the imaginations of all the other parties involved.
A statement by EPIC, the Electronic Privacy Information Center stated the pure and simple truth right after GMAIL launched in 2004:
“ Gmail violates the privacy rights of non-subscribers. Non-subscribers who e-mail a Gmail user have “content extraction” performed on their e-mail even though they have not consented to have their communications monitored, nor may they even be aware that their communications are being analyzed. Subscribers to Gmail also face risks to their privacy. Non-subscribers who are e-mailing a Gmail user have not consented, and indeed may not even be aware that their communications are being analyzed or that a profile may being compiled on him or her. ”
As if exiled NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden has not already done enough to spotlight how vulnerable electronic communications are to state and corporate surveillance, Google decided to make a public announcement that people who send or receive e-mail via Gmail should not expect their messages to remain private. Why would they boldly state that truth? They did a study and found out that most everyone were oblivious or gullible enough to carry on using Gmail, despite there being hundreds of other email-service alternatives and dozens of encrypted email services. However, for those services to stay afloat, many do need to charge month or yearly for their services, such www.unseen.is.
Beyond the content of your email, including your attachments, which is not the only thing that is scanned and analyzed by Gmail – your Gmail contacts are also cross-referenced between all Gmail users. This makes a large map of who knows who. Now the possibility of that is very scary indeed. No matter what device you are using, your contacts are downloaded and show up, which proves they are generally available to the Gmail system. Is this only convenience or another aspect of a computational conspiracy against our privacy?
In summary, using Gmail is the easiest way to give all your personal information willingly away to a centralized database and compete scanning. We recommend that you use your email service that comes with your hosting account. You can read your mail on your phone, your desktop via an email client program such as Outlook, Thunderbird, or EMclient or others. You can also manage your email through any web browser using your yourdomain.com/webmail functionality too.
We here at 4GoodHosting absolutely do not share any of your personal data, emails or contact information, or data stored in your application databases. In fact we take extra steps to safeguard your data. Just remember though your privacy can be breached when you do email others that use services such a Gmail, or Hotmail/Outlook.
We hope this article was informative to you. We cannot say for sure that these above described intrusions of privacy are already happening, but with centralized emails services like Gmail the potential is certainly always there.