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Gmail users do not have a reasonable expectation of privacy, says Google

Google denied that it violates consumers' privacy when it reads e-mails, according to court documents 

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Google bicycles at the Google campus in Mountain View, Calif.
Gmail users have no "reasonable expectation" of privacy, according to court documents.

Jeff Chiu/ AP Photo/ File

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Gmail users and their contacts have no reasonable expectation that their correspondences will not be scanned for the purpose of targeting advertising, according to a Google court document.

“People who use web-based email today cannot be surprised if their emails are processed by the recipient’s [e-mail provider] in the course of the delivery,” reads a Google federal court brief.

Consumer Watchdog, a longtime antagonist to the Internet giant, published the document on Monday. The case centered on complaints that Google was scanning e-mails transmitted over the company’s servers to target advertising.

“You drop a letter in the mail, someone opens it, that’s a federal crime,” says Consumer Watchdog’s Privacy Project director John M. Simpson in an interview with the Monitor. E-mail correspondences should be no different in regards to privacy, Mr. Simpson continues.

Google responded with a statement that the company takes its privacy and security very seriously. "We have built industry-leading security and privacy features into Gmail -- and no matter who sends an email to a Gmail user, those protections apply," according to a statement the company emailed to the Monitor. 

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