Feeds

Germans garotte Google Gmail over privacy

Email scans are verboten

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Google may have to rethink its new free email service Gmail, announced a week ago. The company is offering a whopping 1Gb of free storage, but scans the content of incoming email and seeds it with targeted ads.

This is forbidden, under German privacy laws, Andreas Hermann of the German Federal Data Protection Commission told a Hanover newspaper yesterday. In Germany, email, fax and phone conversations are considered to be confidential. Snooping on email is permitted only when substantial criminal activity is suspected.

Google stresses it will assign computers and not people to scan the content of emails, but this may still be a violation in Europe, where privacy protection laws are much stricter than in the US, where Google is based.

On Monday, citizens' group Privacy International filed a complaint with the UK Information Commissioner, and in the US 28 privacy and civil liberties groups yesterday sent an open letter, urging Google to reconsider its plans. The group claims the Gmail system sets "potentially dangerous precedents and establishes reduced expectations of privacy in email communications".

Meanwhile, Spymac Network announced a 1Gb email capacity increase for all its free member mail accounts with no strings attached. But maybe that's because their hosting servers are located in Dusseldorf, Germany. ®

Related stories

Google's Gmail hits trademark problem
Google mail is evil - privacy advocates
Google launches email, takes the Bill Gates defense

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Facebook pays INFINITELY MORE UK corp tax than in 2012
Thanks for the £3k, Zuck. Doh! you're IN CREDIT. Guess not
DOUBLE BONK: Testy fanbois catch Apple Pay picking pockets
Users wail as tapcash transactions are duplicated
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
Google Glassholes are UNDATEABLE – HP exec
You need an emotional connection, says touchy-feely MD... We can do that
YARR! Pirates walk the plank: DMCA magnets sink in Google results
Spaffing copyrighted stuff over the web? No search ranking for you
prev story

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
New hybrid storage solutions
Tackling data challenges through emerging hybrid storage solutions that enable optimum database performance whilst managing costs and increasingly large data stores.