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Google Apps Email Inbox Controversy

Gmail logoGoogle says users should have no “expectation of privacy”. This issue came up when Gmail users found out that Google was scanning their emails for advertisement ideas. For example, if you send an email to Email Privacyyour friend about the newest smartphone chances are you’ll be seeing advertisements pop up for smartphones. But how can Google do this? Don’t we have a right to privacy? No, not when it comes to your Gmail.

**A little tip to live by: Don’t put or do anything online that you wouldn’t want someone to find out about.

Google Scans your Email for Advertisement Suggestions

Anyone with a Gmail or Google Apps account is probably getting annoyed with the advertisements they are seeing. Google scans anyone who sends or receives a message from Gmail or Google Apps to personalize advertisements to the user. So, if you’ve been “click happy” when it comes to ads you’ve probably got an idea as to why they knew you’d like that ad.

Hosting other Email Domains on Gmail

Gmail allows you to use any email address (i.e. those associated with your own domain name or business) with their popular email hosting platform. However, the emails sent through the Google platform are not safe either. Google’s prying eyes will be scanning those emails as well to find the perfect advertisements to place on your Internet experience.

Just How Secure Is Your Personal Data With Google Apps Email?

In a bug that sprung up during the switchover of Brown University’s email accounts from self-hosted (email accounts hosted at the school) to Google-hosted (hosted by Google Apps), students all of a sudden had access to each others’ email inboxes. According to reports, on 9/11/09, a couple Brown students notified their CIS (Computing and Information Services) department that they were receiving emails belonging to other students. The next day, Brown’s CIS department sent out an email to the 200 students whose mailboxes were being transitioned to the new Google Apps email system, asking them whether they were seeing emails in the inboxes that did not belong to them. Some were, and some could even see the entire inbox of other students. Brown contacted Google to resolve the issue. It reportedly took Google 3 – 5 days to resolve the problem and ultimately, close the affected accounts.

Emails Contain Highly Sensitive Data

Your email inbox typically contains some of your most personal and sensitive data. So it’s important that you place your email hosting in the hands of someone you trust. To this day, we’ve been using Rackspace’s dedicated email hosting service, without running into any privacy issues. It may cost a bit more than Google apps, but in return we also get stellar technical and phone support, and a dedicated IP reputation and management team, that helps ensure our emails get to their destination.

Two-Factor Authentication

Gmail accounts can become much more secure by turning on two-factor authentication, which we highly recommend. Two-factor authentication is also known as multi-factor authentication. It is an added form of security that requires more than your account password for you to gain access in your account. So when you log into your Gmail account you will type in your password, then another login will appear which you’ll have to enter a code that expires within a given time frame. Typically the code is about 6 digits and changes every 30 seconds. The code can be sent to you via text or you can download an authenticator app.

Who Is Your Email Provider?

We’re always in search of the newest and best email hosting providers out there. We’re curious as to who you use, why, how long have you been with them, what’s your experience so far and would you recommend them to other PIP community readers?

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