Shortly after Microsoft admitted that it read through a journalist’s Hotmail email account without permission to track down a leak, the company scrambled to change its email policies and avoid even more public backlash. While some users were understandably upset, moving to a different email provider such as Apple, Google or Yahoo may not make much of a difference if a similar situation occurred in the future — those companies claim the same right to access your emails without your permission.
Google asks its users to “acknowledge and agree that Google may access… your account information and any Content associated with that account… in a good faith belief that such access… is reasonably necessary to… protect against imminent harm to the… property… of Google”. And Apple says that it “may, without liability to you, access… your Account information and Content… if we have a good faith belief that such access… is reasonably necessary to… protect the… property… of Apple”.
Because these things are written in the terms and conditions — you know, the stuff most, if not all, people gloss over and accept when signing up for these services — these companies accessing your email without your permission is perfectly legal.
The good thing is, though, these companies certainly have the power to read your email if they deem it necessary but they likely will rarely ever have to or do so. And when they do, chances are most of us don’t have to worry about it either unless we are partaking in something elicit.
That, of course, doesn’t justify the fact violation of privacy we thought we had but it is somewhat of a silver lining. That said, however, if you’re truly set on having nobody else read your email but you… it is time to stop using email because, bud, that ain’t going to happen. Welcome to the 21st century.
[via The Guardian]