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Google's advertising system in Gmail has drawn heavy controversy by privacy advocates, by analysing emails sent and received to deliver better targeted adverts. Over time, a picture builds up of what is most interesting to the end user, and adverts will be displayed accordingly.
But this led to speculation that Google was "reading" emails, whether by person or through algorithmic means. The British data protection agency, the ICO investigated after a privacy group made an initial complaint. This led to the belief that Google's Gmail was less secure and open to abuse.