Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

Despite Announcing Otherwise, Google’s Revised Privacy Policy Still Permits It to Mine Users’ Gmail Accounts for Advertising

Paris Martineau, the Outline:

Though Google announced that it would stop using consumer Gmail content for ad personalization last July, the language permitting it to do so is still included in its current privacy policy, and it without a doubt still scans users emails for other purposes. Aaron Stein, a Google spokesperson, told NBC that Google also automatically extracts keyword data from users’ Gmail accounts, which is then fed into machine learning programs and other products within the Google family. Stein told NBC that Google also “may analyze [email] content to customize search results, better detect spam and malware,” a practice the company first announced back in 2012.

It’s bothersome that Google was scooping up users’ emails for ad targeting purposes in the first place, then said that they would stop doing it — after way too long — and has now given itself permission to keep doing so if they want to. But it isn’t going to make a difference: the popularity of Gmail and, more broadly, how deeply we’ve allowed surveillance capitalism to become embedded in the way we live and work on the web.