Nothing Is Private Anymore, Please Don't Kid Yourself.

Web-based email services like Gmail and Hotmail/Outlook are very convenient, and typically free ("free" as in no financial cost to use the service). There is another cost, of course - they are mostly ad-supported. 

"Ad-supported" often means "targeted" ads, and ads are targeted by allowing a little or a lot of information about you or your habits to be available to the ad sponsor, so they can tailor the ads to be of greater interest to you.

For instance if you spend half an hour looking at used car sites, you will no doubt start seeing automobile ads popping up everywhere. That's not so bad in itself - you were probably researching used car options after all - but the process of supplying the targeting information or what information is sucked up may be in doubt.

To further muddy the waters, a recent revelation that Google was allowing 3rd party developers to personally review "private" emails - not probably what you expected as a result of clicking on your terms of service.

Other than *really* reading and reviewing those pesky privacy settings, or setting up your own email server, the Genie is pretty much out of the bottle on this one, folks.

There are some attempts to reign things in from time to time (the EU's recent GDPR ruling for example), and when companies get "caught" they eat humble pie and promise to be good in the future (until the next time).

I think we should all assume that nothing you send in an email to anyone is private or secret anymore, unless you take Herculean steps to make it so. If you use social media or other online services, that goes double.

Welcome to the future.

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