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40% of Brits Unaware Their Webmail is Being Scanned

Posted: 01st Sep, 2008 By: MarkJ
Research carried out by free email operator GMX ('Attitudes to Email') has revealed that 40% of UK webmail users are unaware that their provider, which includes big names like Google's Gmail, often scan private messages for use in targeted advertising.

In addition a further 40% did not even known the practice took place, 33% would like an option to opt-out of the scanning, 18% weren't bothered by it and just 2% believed it to be in their best interest:

"Most users only realise that their personal emails are being used in this way after noticing strangely optimised ads around their Inbox. British consumers should bear in mind that they have a choice of free email services that don't do this. If they are uncomfortable with the practice, they should vote with their feet," commented GMX's managing director, Eva Heil.

We must confess to being unaware of this practice ourselves, although many consumers seem to accept it as being par for the course of a "free" service. It certainly won’t help the current climate of concern surrounding personal data security.
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