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California Senator Challenges Gmail

Staff Writer
Published: 2004-04-13

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Senator Liz Figueroa (D-Fremont) has written a letter to Google questioning the intentions of Gmail, the search engine's new email service. Her issue with Google concerns the placement of AdWords within incoming and outbound emails.

The way Google accomplishes this placement of ads is by scanning emails using an automated process. The ads are then placed contextually. It is the scanning of the emails that has the senator at odds with Google. Figueroa believes this violates "the most fundamental aspect of communication - the expectation of privacy."

In her letter, she said that it would be the advertisers that would benefit from Gmail, not the users. She likened Gmail's ad practice to having a phone conversation monitored by the phone company and subsequently being interrupted to advertise a product.

The senator is not alone in her disagreement with Gmail. Other groups have contacted Google asking for the suspension of email ad placement by Google.

Thanks to Goole Blogoscoped for pointing this out.

More Gmail News

Read our review of Gmail that discusses these issues. Some ISPs have begun rejecting incoming Gmail mailings. For all the privacy issues that Gmail has created, it does have the least requirements for personal information when signing up for an account.

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