What Is Email Scanning ?

Q: If I use Gmail, is every email message that I send or receive scanned by Google?
Image of Google scanning data
What email scanning is:
Gmail, like many other free email services uses automated keyword and context scanning systems to choose which advertisements to display to you while reading your messages in their web-based email systems.  For example, if an old friend sends you an email asking if you are going to attend your upcoming 20 year high-school reunion, you may see advertisements Classmates.com or for limo rentals in your area.  So technically, yes, if you use Gmail or any other advertisement-based free email service automated systems may scan the words in your email messages.
What email scanning is not:
The scanning of email for the purpose of targeting advertising is done automatically, by computers and not by humans.   It is not a group of old men sitting around a room laughing at your messages or proactivly looking for people breaking the law.
If you are concerned about automated email scanning or just plain creeped-out by it, there are many premium (aka, you pay for it) email services that make their money from fees instead of advertising and do not keyword-scan any of your messages.  You can also purchase your own domain and set up your own private email address and service if you have the technical know-how.



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