When news broke that Google was letting Gmail app developers scan and even read your email, we heard what's become Silicon Valley's usual excuse: This is what you signed up for.
Your inbox holds plenty of private information – and in many cases secrets – that when pieced together can build up a profile of your interests, movements and social connections. But email privacy can often be neglected. The threats faced depend on who you are. For businesses, phishing attacks launched through emails can lead to entire corporate networks being compromised. But for individuals there are privacy concerns beyond working out if your account has been hacked.
First, data collection. While Gmail doesn’t scan the content of your emails to collect information for its advertising machines, data from your Google account is used to serve ads in your Gmail inbox. (Most recently Google started putting shopping ads in your inbox).
The other issue individuals should think about is how secure email is – and whether it is strong enough for their needs. For most people, security protections provided by the big emails providers – Gmail, Outlook, Yahoo Mail – should protect emails more.
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