Gmail users have no “reasonable expectation” that their emails are confidential, Google has said in a court filing in the US
It comes as Google and its peers are under pressure to explain their role in the National Security Agency’s surveillance of US citizens and foreign nationals.
“Google has finally admitted they don’t respect privacy,” said John Simpson, Consumer Watchdog’s privacy project director. “People should take them at their word; if you care about your email correspondents’ privacy, don’t use Gmail.”
Consumer Watchdog, the US advocacy group that uncovered the filing, called the revelation a “stunning admission”.
Google set out its case last month in an attempt to dismiss a class-action lawsuit that accuses the tech giant of breaking wire-tap laws when it scans emails in order to target advertisements to Gmail users. That suit, filed in May, claims Google “unlawfully opens up, reads, and acquires the content of people’s private email messages”. It quotes Eric Schmidt, Google’s executive chairman: “Google policy is to get right up to the creepy line and not cross it.”