Paul L. Caron

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Google Stops Scanning Faculty and Student Email for Advertising Key Words

Inside Higher Ed, Privacy or Pretense?:

Gmail (2014)Google, pressured by privacy advocates and looming legal challenges, on Wednesday announced it will no longer scan student and faculty emails for advertising keywords, seeking to end a seven-year-long conflict that some university technology officers have said violates federal law.

Google makes its living on the information it can learn about its users, which can then be served back to them in the form of targeted ads. In Google Apps for Education, which includes the email service Gmail and its suite of productivity software, ads are turned off by default -- but Google automatically scanned students’ emails anyway.

With the changes that went live on Wednesday, the option to turn ads back on has been removed, and the automatic ad scanning has been switched off.

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