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Have you ever signed into your Gmail account and noticed an advertisement in your sidebar that seems all-too-relevant to you? You may wonder: how does Google know me so well?
Well, much of that specialized treatment stems from Google’s scanning technology, which allows Google to scan your Gmail messages for keywords and concepts to identify your interests and create a user profile, which allows targeted advertisements to match those interests.
It is too early to tell what this will mean for Google (and other free email providers like Yahoo and Microsoft), but Judge Koh’s green light is an initial victory for online privacy advocates. Time will tell whether this case moves to trial or is heard by the Ninth Circuit via an interlocutory appeal.
If Google is forced to stop using its email-scanning system, will you miss the individualized ads that appear next to your inbox? Or, will you be happy to know your emails are safe from prying eyes?
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