Feeds

UK punters scowl at webmail ad targeting

Hands off our inboxes

SANS - Survey on application security programs

Two in five Brits are worried that free webmail comes at the expense of privacy because firms are scanning their messages in order to serve up targeted ads.

A similar 40 per cent of 1,800 Brits polled in a survey by alternative freemail firm GMX were unaware of the practice. One third of Brits quizzed during GMX's Attitudes to Email study reckoned scanning of personal email should be allowed only on a voluntary basis, with providers offering the ability to opt out.

Only one in 50 of those quizzed thought the practice was in their best interests. One in five (18 per cent) were indifferent to the scanning, with the rest either against or previously unaware of the practice. Negative reactions included anything from embarrassment to anxiety.

"It is understandable that many Britons are wary about their private emails being scanned for advertising reasons," said Eva Heil, MD at GMX. "It is certainly important that every user is at least informed if this is done by their email service.

"At GMX, we view emails to be like sealed letters, and so we do not scan private email content for ad reasons."

Heil drew a distinction between filtering out spam and viruses from incoming messages and scanning messages solely to serve up ads. Some webmail outfits, such as GMX, scan for malware and spam but not for the purposes of serving up targeted ads. Scanning simply in order to serve up ads is a sore point for many consumers, according to the GMX-sponsored research, which also found that the average Briton maintains an average of two email accounts which they check once a day. ®

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

More from The Register

next story
Parent gabfest Mumsnet hit by SSL bug: My heart bleeds, grins hacker
Natter-board tells middle-class Britain to purée its passwords
Obama allows NSA to exploit 0-days: report
If the spooks say they need it, they get it
Web data BLEEDOUT: Users to feel the pain as Heartbleed bug revealed
Vendors and ISPs have work to do updating firmware - if it's possible to fix this
Samsung Galaxy S5 fingerprint scanner hacked in just 4 DAYS
Sammy's newbie cooked slower than iPhone, also costs more to build
Mounties always get their man: Heartbleed 'hacker', 19, CUFFED
Canadian teen accused of raiding tax computers using OpenSSL bug
Snowden-inspired crypto-email service Lavaboom launches
German service pays tribute to Lavabit
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a defence for mobile apps
In this whitepaper learn the various considerations for defending mobile applications; from the mobile application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies needed to properly assess mobile applications risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.