Google Deserves No Thanks For Calling Time On Spying

It was always a little bit over the top -- a bit spooky, wasn't it? You had the world's largest tech company, the firm that pretty much co-owns internet advertising (alongside Facebook), which was so good at gathering data yet still felt the need to read your emails.

Imagine if Facebook suddenly announced it was reading everything you sent over Messenger to finely target future ads. There would be uproar and, for once, those fake privacy warnings that get shared every now and then about how Facebook is going to know everything about your life would have actually been true. The thing was -- it wasn't Facebook that was checking out messages and so there was no public rage, just a few years of disquiet among privacy campaigners.

The mood has changed, however. We all know how in the EU the pendulum has swung very much in favour of the privacy rights of every citizen with the introduction of the GDPR, and so it was always going to be tough for Google to carry on scanning emails without seeming to be running counter to the way that people want to conduct their business online.

There was statement after statement put out to reassure the public that Google wasn't actually reading each email, just scanning it through some form of automated software. Up to you how you read that but it was pretty much a confession that your messages were being read, but not by a human. 

Let's face it -- if we want a computer to read into what we're looking for and come up with a suggestion, we have a very good resource already provided by Google -- it's called search.

Which brings us on to a very good point. Is there any company, other than Facebook maybe, that has such detailed data about the world's Internet users? Whether it's email sig- up data, Google+ (OK, maybe not that one so much), search data, video watching or browsing behaviour, nobody can see what we're up to in more parts of the Internet than Google.

Strange, then, that they thought it was either necessary or OK to send software minions scanning through Gmail messages to see what people were talking about and what ad might be most appropriate to place alongside their inbox.

So the practice is ending, and not a moment before time. Let's not give Google a round of applause, however. It was a nasty, intrusive tactic that would have likely landed them with a fine of 4% of global turnover, once GDPR kicks in next May. It's also over the top when you consider the data-gathering power the tech giant has elsewhere.

Good riddance to bad rubbish, then. But let's not idolise Google for seeing the light. It had to and it shouldn't have been reading or "scanning" our emails in the first place. 

2 comments about "Google Deserves No Thanks For Calling Time On Spying".
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  1. Craig Mcdaniel from Sweepstakes Today LLC, June 26, 2017 at 3:03 p.m.

    While correct on individuals, Google, through AdSense, AdWords and other companies have been massing a ton of information on online websites and companies. I wouldn't be surprised to learn that they might know more about than I do in some areas of statistics.

    Trust me, they will still be able to build a profile on nearly everyone even with this change in gMail.

  2. Craig Mcdaniel from Sweepstakes Today LLC, June 26, 2017 at 3:15 p.m.

    Sean, if you want to ask a real question to your readers about Google, ask if they should be broken up into individual companies.  I work in sales for AT&T and Ma Bell after the breakup. I will say they were to big in the telephone business back then. AT&T got hit very hard on the equipment side but came back with mobile. However the breakup opened the door for mobile and new technology and help the market place and the USA greatly today. 

    It's time to break up Google. They control online advertising and Search in such a way they are my biggest competitors because they get the first right to the paid ads before any other publisher.  So they are virtually a competitor to every online website on the market because they control the best advertising locations in Search, the top position on all the search pages. 

    Now, how many companies does Google own or competing with that interconnected with all their other companies?  The answer to this question was the same one was ask with Ma Bell and AT&T was broken up.

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