This was a known secret that is now confirmed. Google has updated its email administrator’s terms and conditions to inform users that all of their emails are automatically scanned so they can offer more personalized ads and search results.
This change of conditions is the result of a privacy violation lawsuit against Google by users who accuse the company of violating the law by checking their emails in order to customize advertising.
Gmail users sued Google in 2013 alleging the company was violating telephone listening laws by scanning the content of people’s emails. Many accusers complained that not only Gmail users had suffered this violation of privacy, but also people who don’t own accounts with this service but send emails to Gmail users.
They argue that since they didn’t use Gmail, they didn’t provide consent for the scanning. A US judge rejected Google’s petition to dismiss the case in September and also denied the class action status in March claiming that the way in which Google could have notified its users of the scanning process is different and the case could not be ruled based on a single criteria.
Google argued that users were “implicitly granting consent” to this activity, by acknowledging it as part of the email service. This is the updated paragraph of the conditions regarding Google’s email analysis: “Our automated systems analyze your content (including emails) to provide you personally relevant product features, such as customized search results, tailored advertising, and spam and malware detection. This analysis occurs as the content is sent, received, and when it is stored”. With this new text, Google acknowledges exploring its users emails.
Source: La Patilla