Google will use personal information to display customized content and advertising, develop new services and ensure that its network continues to function. The practices aren't new but weren't explicit before. The policy is also more explicit on data security stressing not only that employees have access on a need-to-know basis but will also be fired or criminally prosecuted for violations.
In April 2004 Privacy International filed complaints about Google's proposed Gmail service with privacy and data protection regulators in 17 countries. The complaint identifies a large number of possible breaches of EU law including the searching of email content and indefinite retention. Gmail scans e-mail content to display custom advertisements.
Gmail Privacy Notice (14.10.2005)
Privacy International complaint (19.04.2004)
More on Gmail and privacy (15.07.2004)
(Contribution by Maurice Wessling, EDRI-member Bits of Freedom)