Google's Policy Violation Checker patent raises email privacy concerns

The search engine giant has filed a patent that would spy on users email and detect controversial phrases compromising user privacy.

Published Date
08 - May - 2013
| Last Updated
08 - May - 2013
Google's Policy Violation Checker patent raises email privacy con...

According to a post on HuffingtonPost, Internet giant Google has filed for a patent that would essentially spy on users' email and detect 'problematic/controversial phrases'. The new patent, for a tool called Policy Violation Checker, would be able to figure out all those things that you shouldn't be writing and is not in accordance with company policies and norms of the land.

This move is especially galling, after all the negative attention Google got when it revealed it was sifting mails for keywords to serve relevant ads in Gmail.

The feature allows Google not only to spot what are 'problematic/illegal' phrases but would give them leverage to report you to the right authorities. As the article in the HuffingtonPost reveals, 'The tool could not only inform a person that they’ve written something that violates protocol, it could also tell an individual why she’s run afoul of the rules, suggest alternate wording that would be less risky and, crucially, alert third parties to the violation'.

Apart from the fact that this patent blatantly violates privacy, the question arises as to who decides what is problematic phrasing. It is a matter of great concern that an individual be held accountable for being critical towards an institution or government in a private email. Even organizations could use this to control employees voice their opinions which means that your job could also be at stake.

Essentially, Google's patent, if it finds its way into Gmail, is quite a concern for privacy.

Source: HuffingtonPost