On Tuesday Google updated its privacy policies to make it absolutely clear that it is scanning your email.
It added these sentences:
Our automated systems analyze your content (including emails) to provide you personally relevant product features, such as customized search results, tailored advertising, and spam and malware detection. This analysis occurs as the content is sent, received, and when it is stored.
It also tweaked a few sentences that warn that all the stuff you upload to Google is considered fair game. (Google included the editing marks, to show you exactly which words it changed):
When you upload,
or otherwise submit, content to our Services, you give Google (and those we work with) a worldwide license to use, host, store, reproduce, modify, create derivative works (such as those resulting from translations, adaptations or other changes we make so that your content works better with our Services), communicate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute such content.
This information comes at an interesting time. Google is being sued over e-mail scanning, in a suit from 2013, where the plaintiffs allege that Google violated wiretapping laws by scanning the content of e-mails, Ars Technica’s Casey Johnston reports.
However, last month, the judge in the case did not allow the suit to go forward as a class-action suit. That put a damper on the case because individual email users would each need to pursue lawsuits, Johnston reports