I read a post this morning stating that free email accounts were a surefire ethics violation for lawyers.  After being sued for violating various state privacy laws and Federal Wiretap Laws, Google argued that their users do not have a reasonable expectation of privacy.  Google could be right considering that there terms of service grants them a “worldwide license” to use the information you upload or submit. The terms of Gmail’s free user account states that:

“When you upload or otherwise submit content to our Services, you give Google (and those we work with) a worldwide license to use, host, store, reproduce, modify, create derivative works (such as those resulting from translations, adaptations or other changes we make so that your content works better with our Services), communicate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute such content.”

Truth is Google’s privacy policy is concern for all business’s not just lawyers.  Consumers expect privacy in their conversations with you however they do not get that if you are using a free email service.  In exchange for that “free” service you are allowing the service provider permission to scan your emails for information they can use to help sell ads.

Think about it, nothing is really free.  Not that free e-guide that you downloaded in exchange for you email address. Not the loyalty rewards card you signed up for at the grocery store in exchange for not only your personal information but also your spending habits. Not the …. you get my point.

You can avoid the blatant disregard of privacy by reading the terms of service and upgrading your free account.  I upgraded my free Google account months ago for the sake of privacy.  For only $5 per a month I get more storage, I can add apps that sync with my account and more importantly my conversations stay private. Google’s business account boast that “your date belongs to you” to me that’s worth paying for.