Does Google have the right to look at and read our emails?

by on September 10, 2013 - 7:44pm

Have you ever felt cheated, mislead or felt like privacy does not exist anymore, that is what 10 individuals felt when they filed a law suit against Google for invading their privacy. Google was planning to read the public’s emails so that they can sell ads and make more money. Reading the public’s private emails is wrong to the public but not according to Google, because they would like to overturn the lawsuit thinking that it will help the public in the long run. This is not what I think, because in emails people put information that sometimes they would not like to share to the public, and if you are reading them people will feel offended and will be very upset. To further understand the issue we need to look at the concept of moral reasoning which is the way we reason our thoughts to make sense of information that goes in our brain. There are four steps that make up this concept of moral reasoning, the first is that we have to indentify the question witch in this case is whether or not Google should be reading our emails. The second step is to get the facts straight which in this case is to find out whether or not the facts that Google are stating are relevant and convincing to the public and the answer to that question is no, because anybody can go through your emails and say that they are reading them do make their ad campaign better. The third step is to indentify both sides of the debate. The fourth and final step is to discuss the values and ethical principles that represent both sides of the debate. According to the ethical principals in this situation, you are using people as means so that you can get what you want, and that is not correct because people have the right to privacy and you are breaking that rule to get what you want which is money. On the other side of the debate a person would say that they are doing this for the greater good of the community so they can get what they want but this is wrong because you invaded someone else’s privacy so you can benefit for other people, which is a violation of the ethical principles.       



The fact that you mention the privacy of people is violated since google's 'people' are reading their clients Email is wrong. In fact the google bot, a computerized formula is the one who 'reads' your data to select key word and processes it as a new form used by google ads to have a more personalize ads surrounding your interest. Google already uses this method with its search engine, so what makes it different with your emails?

When someone signs up for an email account whether it be a Hotmail, yahoo, Gmail or what be it, they agree to the terms of use that the company has made up. When someone chooses to make a Google email account, they are choosing, using their own free will, to use that company’s service. Google doesn’t even charge for the privilege of using their service. Google used a consequentialist approach in deciding that they wanted to use their specialized program to target key words in emails so that they could target users with advertisements especially designed for them. Google is not doing anything wrong; people willingly chose their service and agreed to the terms of service upon activating their accounts, google therefore has the right to do whatever they want from there. If someone decides that they don’t want they privacy impeded upon then that’s their choice and there are many other options for sending emails or messages where your information is not being viewed.

In this particular situation, it is only stated that 10 people made a lawsuit against Google, don't get me wrong but 10 is better than only one person but I think there should have been more people suing them, as it would bring a bigger attention to the problem. I do believe they have the rights to look into your emails, because it is not like they were looking at each emails sent, they targeted which ones they wanted to see. Secondly it is not as if they were out to harm the people in question, they had a good motivation behind it, which is the world of marketing. They are not invading their intimate, or privacy life. We should not forget the terms and agreements that we did check when making an account, the likelihood that we read those every time they appear are minimal, and probably somewhere in these long conditions somewhere it could be stated that they are allowed to check some specified emails. How did these 10 people were aware of Google reading their messages? Is it because they had the courtesy to inform them of what they were going to do?

By just reading the article, I would agree that it is invading a person's privacy and if you aren't allowed to read a person's mail, why would reading an email be any different? However reading the comments, I think you could have researched the topic a bit more, because since they are already doing this with the search engine, and it is a 'google bot' that will be doing the searching, it changes the situation. I still think that Google shouldnt take advantage of it's users like that (or of their ignorance) just because they can, to search through personal things just to be able to advertize better. So I completely agree with you that this is wrong.

I am commenting on your post because the title caught my attention and it addresses well the issue. I agree with you that it is not right from google to read their users email in order to provide them with personalized advertising. Emails now being one of the principal ways of communicating can contain a lot of personal information that you do not want to release. But, this right that Google give themselves allows them trespass into our personal communication which takes away the users privacy. As you also mentioned, with this practice Google is using their users as means. By targeting users for certain advertisement, Google is using their users as money makers without them knowing. I think such practice is wrong because you're making money on their back by feeding them with personalized advertisements. How far should we let companies such as Google get into our personal life?

This issue came to get me because it is invasion of privacy which I am totally against. I agree with your viewpoint that reading people’s e-mails is not only rude but disrespectful to users of this service. The golden which is; don’t do to others what you wouldn’t like people to do to you, isn’t respected at all in this issue. I don’t think high managers of Google would like to have their e-mails read and use to manipulate them. Advertisement has become so intense in our days that it is practically manipulating people to spend more and more money on things they don’t necessarily need. How far are advertisement firms willing to go to make good publicity that will get people’s attention? They have to respect individual’s right to privacy.

First of all, your post caught my attention because of the title and topic, which concern myself as an individual as well as my peers as most of us do use email frequently, and many people now use Google for just about anything. It is not just email or a general web search. Google is now one of the largest corporations in the world, sponsoring and powering more and more websites/technology, and posting ads almost everywhere. To me, it is not a surprise that they would read the emails of Google account users to promote their company in any sort of way. It is a question of privacy for users, and some do not think it is right for their emails to be read, in general and not just so they can be provided with ads. However Google does provide Terms and Conditions for their service, which does explain clearly that they will be entitled to read emails. Once you agree to these Terms and Conditions, you are liable for what you send out in your emails and messages, and Google has the authority to do whatever is written in the Terms. If someone is against Google reading their emails, then they should use another email service which has stricter privacy settings. I do believe, however, that Google should keep the information in emails confidential between the user and the company. (For example, if a user sends a picture through email, that picture should not be taken and used on another website, etc.) Overall this brings to question: if you don't want Google reading your emails, or any other email provider, why would you agree to their Terms of Conditions?