Understanding Gmail's Terms of Service - Policy Primer


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This presentation is for the NET 303 unit at Curtin University, Australia. It is designed to act as guide and offer users a better understanding of Gmail's Terms of Service and other related policies.

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Understanding Gmail's Terms of Service - Policy Primer

  1. 1. Policy Primer (Understanding Gmail’s Terms of Service) By Brett RuleGoogle and Gmail Logos are Registered Trademarks of Google Inc. Google screenshots are copyright of Google Inc.They are used within this presentation under Australian Copyright Fair Dealing (Review and Criticism).
  2. 2. What is Gmail?• Gmail is a free email service, that allows its users to create an email account and effectively access email from any web browser or email application of their choice.
  3. 3. Why You Might Consider Using Gmail?• You need a reliable, fast email account that can be accessed from anywhere in the world.• You receive a large amount of attached files via email that you want accessible from anywhere in the world.• You use smart phones, tablets, televisions, etc to connect to the Internet in addition to standard desktop PC’s and laptops.
  4. 4. But Before You Sign Up, There are Some Important Things You Should Know• Upon signing up for Gmail you must agree to Google’s Terms of Service. Often the specifics of a Terms of Service policy are not fully read or understood by users.• The following slides attempt to highlight what I believe are the key points to think about related to Gmail’s Terms of Service Policy.
  5. 5. Terms of Service – Key PointsGoogle’s Terms of Service incorporates various program, privacy andcontent policies. Google’s Terms of Service state…• Using Google’s Services does not give you ownership of any intellectual property rights in their Services or the content you access. You may not use content from Goggle’s services unless you obtain permission from its owner or are otherwise permitted by law. • Google may stop or suspend the service if they believe you are misusing the Gmail service. A definition of misuse is defined in Google’s program policy and is summarised in the following slides.  or  (Pending individuals perspective) = Good Policy,  = Bad Policy  = Ambiguous /Unsure of Implications
  6. 6. Program Policy – Key PointsThe most notable infringements which can result in account termination withinGoogle’s program policy include……..• Generate or facilitate unsolicited commercial email ("spam"). • Send or distribute any unlawful, defamatory, harassing, abusive, fraudulent or otherwise objectionable content.  - (What exactly is harassing content?)• Illegally transmit anothers intellectual property or other proprietary information with out such owners or licensors permission.  - (Many users are guilty of this at some stage or another. )• Transmit content that may be harmful to minors. • Use the Gmail Service in connection with illegal peer-to-peer file sharing.  - (What is considered illegal peer to peer file sharing?)• Intentionally distribute viruses, worms, defects, Trojan horses, corrupted files, hoaxes, or any other items of a destructive or deceptive nature.  = Good Policy,  = Bad Policy  = Ambiguous /Unsure of Implications.
  7. 7. Privacy Policy – Key PointsGoogle’s privacy policy states….• Google collects information via two ways. Information users provide when creating an account and the information from Google services such as location, log information and search history, etc.  or  (Pending personal preference).• Google may process your personal information on a server located outside the country where you live.”  - (This may have legal effects if challenging Google in a court.)• If Google is involved in a merger, acquisition or asset sale, we will continue to ensure the confidentiality of any personal information and give affected users notice before personal information is transferred or becomes subject to a different privacy policy.  - (Suggests the possibility of personal data one day being transferred, acquired or sold.) = Good Policy,  = Bad Policy  = Ambiguous /Unsure of Implications.
  8. 8. Privacy Policy – Key PointsGoogle’s privacy policy continued….• We do not share personal information with companies, organizations and individuals outside of Google unless with users consent, with domain administrators, for external processing and for legal reasons. • Google provides some tools and settings to control elements of your privacy. • “We use the information we collect from all of our services to provide, maintain, protect and improve them, to develop new ones, and to protect Google and our users. We also use this information to offer you tailored content – like giving you more relevant search results and ads.”  or  (Pending personal preference).• The point above relates to advertising which is important in understanding and is documented in the next slide. = Good Policy,  = Bad Policy  = Ambiguous /Unsure of Implications.
  9. 9. Other Areas of Concern - AdvertisingGmail will display advertisements within all Gmail accounts. You need to beaware that……• Gmail works in tangent with other Google services such as Google search to build an extensive profile of your tastes and preferences for advertising purposes.  or  (Depending on the individual.)• Automated computer robots and scripts (not humans) read/scan your incoming and outgoing emails. Advertisements are then displayed based on keywords used in your emails to colleagues, friends, and family.  or  (Depending on the individual.)• Effectively this could be considered a privacy breach, as your friends and contacts may never have agreed to Google’s Terms of Service, yet their emails are being read and scanned when emailing a Gmail account.  = Good Policy,  = Bad Policy  = Ambiguous /Unsure of Implications
  10. 10. Other Areas of Concern - AdvertisingDisplayed below is a Gmail account I use for my University studies.• Gmail has noted my emails usually reference university or other academic topics .Knowing this, Gmail displays advertisements they believe will interest me. In this case, another course from an Australian college.  or  (Pending personal preference). Gmail displays Web Clip “Targeted” Gmail also displays advertisements here. advertisements here. This form of There is no “simple” way to turn off these advertising can be turned off. advertisements.
  11. 11. Other Areas of Concern - ContentGmail allows you to submit content. So who owns your content?• You retain ownership of any intellectual property rights that you hold in that content. In short, what belongs to you stays yours. • “Google reviews content to determine whether it is illegal or violates our policies, and we may remove or refuse to display content. But that does not necessarily mean that we review content, so please don’t assume that we do.”  - (Although unlikely, effectively this suggests you may be exposed to offensive content from advertisers.) = Good Policy,  = Bad Policy  = Ambiguous /Unsure of Implications
  12. 12. Gmail. The Verdict!For most “casual” users, Gmail’s advantages will probably outweigh the negatives. Gmail doespresent some privacy concerns which are mostly related to advertising and marketing. If youare comfortable with this form of profiling, Gmail could be a good email solution.Pros - • Gmail is free and offers a generous amount of storage (Option to purchase more storage).• Certain elements of advertising can be turned off.• Very good SPAM filtering mechanism for all those “unsolicited” emails.• Seamless integration with Android smart phones, smart TV’s and tablets.Cons - • Gmail will add profiling data to your (probable already) existing Google profile.• Gmail also scans and extracts keywords and data from incoming mail. Privacy breach?• No 100% guarantee Google will not one day in the future sell profiling data.• Steps to minimise profiling data can be convoluted and tricky to implement.• Possibility users can be exposed to offensive material (advertisements).
  13. 13. ReferencesElectronic Privacy Information Center. (N.D). Gmail Privacy FAQ. EPIC.ORG. Retrieved October 13,2012, from http://epic.org/privacy/gmail/faq.htmlGoogle. (N.D). About Gmail. Gmail Program Policies. Retrieved October 14, 2012, fromhttps://mail.google.com/mail/help/intl/en/program_policies.htmlGoogle. (N.D). About Gmail. Terms and Privacy. Retrieved October 12, 2012, fromhttp://mail.google.com/mail/help/intl/en/terms.htmlGoogle. (N.D). Gmail. Ads in Gmail and Your Personal Data. Retrieved October 15, 2012, fromhttp://support.google.com/mail/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=6603Google. (N.D). Gmail. Storage Plan Pricing. Retrieved October 13, 2012, fromhttp://support.google.com/mail/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=2375123&topic=25063&ctx=topicGoogle. (N.D). Google. Ad Preferences. Retrieved October 15, 2012, fromhttps://www.google.com/settings/u/0/ads/preferences/#optoutGoogle. (2012). Google. Policies and Principles. Retrieved October 12, 2012, fromhttp://www.google.com/policies/privacy/Marketing Age. (2012). Yahoo Mail vs Gmail vs Hotmail. Retrieved October 11, 2012 fromhttp://sedatedworld.com/?p=1054