Why don’t users have “a reasonable expectation of privacy” when using email?


Google said in a recent court filing that Gmail users do not have a reasonable expectation of privacy when they use email services. What do they mean by this? Are millions of people wrong when they think their email communications should be private?

Topic: Internet
Answer this Question


1 total
Vote Up (5)

Don’t read too much into that. It’s simply a legal argument used as a defense in a court case, and is based on well settled caselaw. When you give information to a company, you have essentially released it into the wild, subject to any contractual limitations between the parties. After all, employees of that company may see it, so you cannot reasonably expect that it will remain completely private. For example, your bank shares your "private" financial information with all sorts of companies, all the time. That is not the same thing as saying that Google is going to give all your information to anyone willy-nilly; they are still constrained (such as it is) by the terms of the user agreement that practically no one bothers to read. There are many valid concerns about privacy, but Google is really saying nothing new here, but of course read outside of the context of a pleading, it does sound quite ominous.


Incidentially, the government used this same argument vis a vis telephone conversations during prohibition, and until the law caught up with the advances in technology then, they had a good argument. It's the same story all over again with modern communication methods. 

Ask a question

Join Now or Sign In to ask a question.
Yahoo has acquired online video streaming company RayV with the aim of distributing content to more people, particularly via mobile devices.
Building on its successful platform for monitoring the performance of IT systems, New Relic now offers a service that collects and analyzes app performance data to provide more information about how effectively businesses are serving their customers.
Will we see anything sillier than a Kickstarter campaign to make potato salad? Wait, don’t answer that
Amazon.com has asked the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration permission to test drones outdoors for use in its Prime Air package delivery service.
MonkeyParking, an app that lets people bid on public parking spaces, said Thursday it will suspend its service in San Francisco to avoid a potential lawsuit from the city attorney.
IBM, Microsoft, Red Hat and other IT vendors are lending a hand to Google to help build software that enterprises could use to manage their computerized workloads in the cloud.
Microsoft's price cuts for some Office 365 plans was an attempt to keep momentum on its software-by-subscription push, an analyst said.
In wake of psychological experiment, group challenges users to take a Facebook break and find out if it makes them happier.
Oracle's massive annual OpenWorld conference isn't happening until late September, but the vendor recently unveiled details of nearly 1,800 sessions planned for the event that on balance paint a comprehensive picture of what its customers, partners and competitors can expect.
Microsoft is coming out with new hardware and cloud management features for its StorSimple hybrid storage offering that promises lower costs and better data protection.
Join us: