Apple and Google, Like Microsoft, Reserve Right to Read Customer Emails

Discussion in ' News Discussion' started by MacRumors, Mar 21, 2014.

  1. macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    Apple, Yahoo, and Google all have terms of service that allow them to read users' emails if necessary, according to research done by The Guardian. Apple's iCloud Terms and Conditions includes a clause that gives Apple permission to disclose Account information and Content, including iCloud email, when necessary by law, to address security, fraud, or technical issues, or to protect the rights and property of Apple.
    Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft's terms of service all contain similar wording granting the technology companies unfettered access to content. The Guardian initially began investigating the rights of major companies to access user email after Microsoft looked through the personal Hotmail account of a blogger in order to discover the source of a Windows 8 leak.

    Microsoft employee Alex Kibkalo was found sending a tech blogger parts of Windows 8 code back in 2012, allowing the blogger to access screenshots of the operating system, which were then posted online. Microsoft fired Kibkalo, but its methods of discovery were questioned, prompting the company to make a statement on its investigation policies, pledging not to read customer emails except in circumstances where a court order would be justified and vowing to announce such searches in its bi-annual transparency report.

    While it is Microsoft that's under fire for reading the email of its users, as mentioned above, Apple, Google, and Yahoo have the same rights to access content under questionable conditions. Apple does not mention whether or not it accesses iCloud email for non-security reasons in its own transparency reports and it is unclear whether the company has accessed private content in the search for leaks.

    Apple is a notoriously secretive company, however, going to great lengths to protect its upcoming products. According to Apple CEO Steve Jobs, product secrecy is one of the specific tenets that has been responsible for Apple's success, and in 2012, Tim Cook said the company would "double down on secrecy on products."

    Nevertheless, Apple has had a hard time keeping leaks under wraps. The iPhone 5s and the iPhone 5c were both unveiled long before their release, and more recently, some significant iOS 8 leaks have come to light.

    Apple and Google both opted not to comment to The Guardian on the clauses in their Terms of Services, but all customers opt-in to possible searches when signing up for an email account with either company.

    Article Link: Apple and Google, Like Microsoft, Reserve Right to Read Customer Emails
  2. macrumors 68000

    Dec 13, 2010
    I'd be surprised if they had agreements saying they don't read them and still did it anyway.
  3. macrumors 6502a


    Jun 25, 2011
    i don't care if they see mine. they will just see "newly single girls in my area DTF" spam messages
  4. macrumors regular

    Oct 1, 2012
    If you read the EULA you'll find that they reserve the right to do plenty of things...
  5. macrumors 68000

    Mar 5, 2012
    Central California
    I've said this over and over again but trust no one.

    I'm writing letters dammit!
  6. macrumors 65816


    Jul 22, 2010
    United Kingdom
    Who cares? You cannot live your life in constant paranoia.
  7. macrumors 6502a

    Jul 15, 2011
    Obviously. If this is news to you, then get off the net. Go write your letters, because the post office can't open those right?
  8. macrumors 604


    Mar 26, 2008
    Planet Earth
    how is that even legal? if my landlord were to put a clause in the contract to search my flat while i am gone it wouldnt mean a thing even if i signed it cuz its simply not allowed

    and to the people saying "who cares" ugh ... its the first step into what SciFi movies r made off. reporter finds something out about xy - police state is going to delete all traces of it in the name of "national security". just take a look at Turkey

    "busted for corruption. lol lets take down twitter"
  9. macrumors 601


    Mar 2, 2012
    I have nothing to hide, and no legal reasons for them to read mine anyway. But of course people are going to get paranoid and freak out :rolleyes:
  10. macrumors 6502

    Feb 7, 2011
    This really pisses me off. One of the reasons I use Apple over anyone else is because they are supposed to care about your privacy over all else. I like Tim overall but I'm a little perturbed by his diplomacy, and he's contradicting "Take us out in a box" statement.
  11. macrumors regular

    May 15, 2011
    MacRumors; are you frik'n kidding me?? This has been the case since the invention of "email".


    Meanwhile, in other news:

    If police suspect you of a crime, they can actually arrest you. :eek:
  12. macrumors 6502

    Sep 8, 2012
  13. macrumors regular

    Sep 29, 2007
  14. macrumors 65816


    Jul 9, 2011
    I feel sorry for them if they want to read my e-mails. Watching a sloth would be more interesting.
  15. macrumors member

    Jul 19, 2012
    As long as they don't turn me into a human centipad, I'm fine with whatever.
  16. macrumors 68000

    Oct 23, 2003
    Brunswick, MD
    Yeah, it's not a "who cares" issue... but ....

    IMO, it's more of a caution to people. The tools exist to prevent this from being a problem. ENCRYPT your email if the contents are important to be kept private!

    Honestly, if you don't encrypt the contents, you simply don't know who might be looking at it. Apple, Google or anyone else could announce policies tomorrow promising they don't read your email. But that won't stop a rogue employee, in charge of working on the mail servers, from randomly looking at some of it. In fact, there may be instances where an email admin might look at some of it specifically to help fix mail routing issues. (Only interested in what's in the message headers, or looking to see if certain text is in there that's triggering a junk mail filter they're trying to tweak, or ??)

    If the admin never admits to doing it, it "never happened" from the company's perspective -- yet someone DID in fact read your message.

  17. theheadguy, Mar 21, 2014
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2014

    macrumors 6502a

    Apr 26, 2005
    What's hilarious is the lemmings who don't want any privacy. Just because you have nothing of interest to others doesn't mean I want my privacy invaded, or that of my friends, or my family's.

  18. macrumors 68000


    Oct 1, 2004
    Mountains of Vermont
    Email is a postcard. Did you ever really believe you had privacy? Don't say things in email, or on the phone, that you don't want known. Even the Mafia has known this for ages.
  19. macrumors member

    Aug 11, 2010
    Yes, you can!

    You've not met my brother-in-law.
  20. macrumors 601


    Mar 2, 2012
    And it's posts like these that make it sound like they're constantly looking over your shoulder reading through long lists of emails.

    They won't check emails unless they have to comply with the law.
  21. macrumors 68020


    Jan 25, 2009
    If Samsung had something similar, general madness and desperation would be all over.

    But hey, it's Apple. All cool.

  22. macrumors 6502a

    Apr 26, 2005
    Based on your sarcasm you probably don't realize that letters sent via USPS do have more legal protection than e-mail.
  23. macrumors 604


    Mar 26, 2008
    Planet Earth
    or we know from history and are just very concerned and "anal" about those kind of things ever since :p over here (stasi in east germany for example)
  24. macrumors 6502

    Jun 1, 2006
    Orlando, FL
    You're right, pretty soon airlines will include a clause in the fine print stating that they're not responsible for your in-flight disappearance. :rolleyes:
  25. macrumors member

    Aug 11, 2010
    What about encryption?

    If you were to use PGP to encrypt/decrypt your messages, wouldn't this restore your privacy?

    Note: I understand that if the NSA "has it in" for you that they'll probably be able to crack it. But you'll make those dudes work for it.

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