Naked Science Forum

Non Life Sciences => Geek Speak => Topic started by: RD on 14/03/2012 09:39:18

Title: Does Google read email attachments in Gmail accounts ?
Post by: RD on 14/03/2012 09:39:18
I appreciate emails sent to/from Gmail accounts are “read (” to provide targeted adverts to the account holder, but what about email attachments, are they read too ?

Does it make a difference if a pdf attached to a email is opened in Gmail’s pdf reader, or saved to your computer and viewed with say Adobe reader ?,  i.e. is the info in the pdf usable by by Google if you use their Gmail widget to read it ?.   

I rarely use gmail myself, but I was sending an email with a pdf attachment to someone with an gmail account so am interested to know, ( I encrypted the pdf just in case using PDFTK (
Title: Re: Does Google read email attachments in Gmail accounts ?
Post by: imatfaal on 14/03/2012 10:46:04
Well BT use very very low level packet sniffing (drilling down to content rather than stopping at mere file type) - so they almost certainly did read it (if I understood the technology correctly - I think it was slashdot thing) as almost every ISP uses BT hardware eventually.  I don't know about Google reading gmail attachments - I might try and wade through the new terms. 

To demonstrate the (deliberately caused) problem with the T&Cs used by people like Google - I have two law degrees and my job is negotiating contracts with multinationals; and I have trouble with the terms that are used.  The first desire of the people paid to write these T&C is clearly to stop anyone who is not being paid by the hour from ever reading them - they are just too voluminous and catch-all.   

This is from the wikipage on Google - caveat utitor

On December 2009, Google's CEO, Eric Schmidt, declared after privacy concerns: "If you have something that you don't want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn't be doing it in the first place. If you really need that kind of privacy, the reality is that search engines – including Google – do retain this information for some time and it's important, for example, that we are all subject in the United States to the Patriot Act and it is possible that all that information could be made available to the authorities."[228] Privacy International ranked Google as "Hostile to Privacy", its lowest rating on its report, making Google the only company in the list to receive that ranking
Title: Re: Does Google read email attachments in Gmail accounts ?
Post by: RD on 14/03/2012 12:48:16
Not clear to me whether Google just reads the names (and perhaps metadata) of the attached files,
 or their actual contents if text ...

 [ Invalid Attachment ]  => we do whatever we want with your info.
Title: Re: Does Google read email attachments in Gmail accounts ?
Post by: yor_on on 17/03/2012 06:45:27
I would expect them to read it only when finding a 'reason' to be interested. It's too much information although you can use algorithms to 'pan' afte the words etc that you're interested in. It also depends on the 'reason', some statistical studies may never read the contents at all for example. But, if you like your privacy, look up PGP for linux, and use that for your attachments. Which will guarantee, as well as generate, a certain interest from certain agencies, all countries included :)

But hey, if you don't have anything to hide, why wear clothes?