Why Private Email Is So Important

Companies collect our private data every day by allowing us to use their “Free” services.

It is extremely important in these times that everyone has private forms of communication. Not only for every day conversations but also for things such as purchases, medical records and travel plans.

Email is one of the most common forms of messaging for the most sensitive types of information.

Most companies offering free services collect our private data every minute that we use them.

The information they collect is used to create a complete personal profile of us that can be used for anything (and sold to anyone).

They know where we go, videos we watch, articles we read, what we purchase, which games we play, our interests, hobbies, etc.

In the name of convenience and free services, companies have slipped things in to their policies that allowed them to watch our every move on the web. This information is being used in ways that continue to become more invasive by the day.

Surveillance such as this has far reaching implications beyond that of just advertising. This type of overreach can affect things in the future such as availability to healthcare and even head in to the dark regions of religious persecution (as they have in other countries already).

What Does Google Track?

Google alone tracks everything you let it, even if you don’t realize you agreed to it…  They say they don’t scan your emails for advertisement targeting anymore but maybe they don’t need to with all the other tracking they do.    However, they DO keep up with any receipts that you receive in your inbox to keep in an almost hidden “Purchases” area that I bet you didn’t know about (see the links below).

Make sure you are logged in to your Google account and try the following links:

(Tip: Right click the link to open in a new tab so you can come back here easily)

  1. What we’ve been doing online: https://myactivity.google.com/myactivity
  2. Our purchases: https://myaccount.google.com/purchases
  3. Where we’ve been: https://www.google.com/maps/timeline
  4. Our personal interests: https://adssettings.google.com
  5. Hotel reservations: https://myaccount.google.com/reservations

What does this mean for you?  

Just speaking to the email situation alone: If you are going to make purchases that you don’t necessarily want people to know about (which really is most purchases, right?), you wouldn’t want to use an email service for your receipts that’s going to keep track of your purchases.   If you need to travel, you don’t want your email service keeping track of where you make reservations.  That’s nobody else’s business.

What can you do about it?

Step 1.  Use a paid email service: ILJ Mail.  It’s a small price to pay for your privacy.

Step 2. Use a browser focused on better privacy like Firefox .  Firefox has great built in tracker blockers and has a good plugin called “Facebook Container” that we highly recommend.  Facebook is another company that has way too much information on us but that’s an article for another day.

Step 3. Use a private search engine like Duck Duck Go.  Duck Duck Go doesn’t make “search profiles” on you and doesn’t track you. 

Step 4. Research Research Research… before using anything “free” on the internet.

At ILJ Mail, your privacy comes first. We will never show you ads, and most importantly, we will never scan your email or harvest your personal information for marketing purposes.

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Further Reading

There is a lot of information out there about how we are slowly losing our privacy.  There are a few links below if you are interested in reading more.

PC Magazine (04/08/2020): What Does Big Tech Know About You? Basically Everything

NY Times Opinion Video (Dec. 2019) – You Should Be Freaking Out About Privacy

CNBC (May 2019) “Google uses Gmail to track a history of things you buy — and it’s hard to delete”

Fox and Friends (04/13/2018) – Kurt the ‘CyberGuy’ gives his take on the latest fallout over data privacy.

CNBC Video (12/06/2017 – older but still relevant) – Here’s Everything Google Knows About You

Business Insider (05/2017 – older but still relevant) – Google is under fire for watching you while you shop even when you’re not online https://www.businessinsider.com/google-is-tracking-shoppers-offline-2017-5

(Page updated April 2020)