Hit & Run

"Privacy" Policies

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A few weeks ago, I blogged about a court that decided it's perfectly fine for your ISP to read your e-mail.

I hope you weren't counting on your ISP's privacy policy to protect you, either. Another intrepid blogger takes a look at terms of service agreements for major e-mail providers and discovers some startling statements. Doug Isenberg writes:

Under these policies, customers of the big three ISPs should not have any confidence that their e-mail accounts are entirely private. These policies certainly don't forbid the ISPs from monitoring e-mail; indeed, the policies seem to do just the opposite: They expressly permit the ISPs to do.

By contrast, Google, which has been cast as a privacy villain recently because of the targeted advertisements in its new Gmail service, has this to say in its privacy policy:

Google employees do not access the content of any mailboxes unless you specifically request them to do so (for example, if you are having technical difficulties accessing your account) or if required by law, to maintain our system, or to protect Google or the public.