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[Slashdot] - Why Email Providers Scan Your Emails


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An anonymous reader shares a report: If you receive emails flagged as spam or see a warning that a message might be a phishing attempt, it's a sign that your email provider is scanning your emails. The company may do that just to protect you from danger, but in some situations it can delve into your communications for other purposes, as well. Google announced that it would stop scanning Gmail users' email messages for ad targeting in 2017 -- but that doesn't mean it stopped scanning them altogether. Verizon didn't respond to requests for comments about Yahoo and AOL's current practices, but in 2018 the Wall Street Journal reported that both email providers were scanning emails for advertising. And Microsoft scans its Outlook users' emails for malicious content. Here's what major email providers say about why they currently scan users' messages. Email providers can scan for spam and malicious links and attachments, often looking for patterns. [...] You may see lots of ads in your email inbox, but that doesn't necessarily mean your email provider is using the content of your messages to target you with marketing messages. For instance, like Google, Microsoft says that it refrains from using your email content for ad targeting. But it does target ads to consumers in Outlook, along with MSN, and other websites and apps. The data to do that come from partnering with third-party providers, plus your browsing activity and search history on Bing and Microsoft Edge, as well as information you've given the company, such as your gender, country, and date of birth. [...] If you're using an email account provided by your employer, an administrator with qualifying credentials can typically access all your incoming and outgoing emails on that account, as well as any documents you create using your work account or that you receive in your work account. This allows companies to review emails as part of internal investigations and access their materials after an employee leaves the company. [...] Law enforcement can request access to emails, though warrants, court orders, or subpoenas may be required. Email providers may reject requests that don't satisfy applicable laws, and may narrow requests that ask for too much information. They may also object to producing information altogether.

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