Google General Counsel Denies Mike Arrington’s Charge That They Read Gmail to Root Out Leaks

Mike Arrington:

A few years ago, I’m nearly certain that Google accessed my Gmail account after I broke a major story about Google. A couple of weeks after the story broke my source, a Google employee, approached me at a party in person in a very inebriated state and said that they (I’m being gender neutral here) had been asked by Google if they were the source. The source denied it, but was then shown an email that proved that they were the source.

The source had corresponded with me from a non Google email account, so the only way Google saw it was by accessing my Gmail account.

Liz Gannes, reporting for Recode:

Google denies that charge.

“Mike makes a serious allegation here — that Google opened email messages in his Gmail account to investigate a leak,” Kent Walker, Google general counsel, said in a statement. “While our terms of service might legally permit such access, we have never done this and it’s hard for me to imagine circumstances where we would investigate a leak in that way.”

Given that Arrington doesn’t claim to have evidence, I doubt this will go anywhere. But it’s interesting that Google saw fit to respond to the allegation.

Wednesday, 26 March 2014