[UNRELATED] Weird; gmail READS your mail?

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UncleJaque

[UNRELATED] Weird; gmail READS your mail?

Post by UncleJaque » Sat Oct 01, 2011 3:12 pm

This is more of a "heads up" than a problem, per se - I'm not sure if scripts are involved in this, but users of gmail might find it interesting:

interesting action by gmail
Saturday, October 01, 2011 10:05:08 AM ·
| 10/1/2011 |
yesterday, a friend who works in an IT department described an interesting action by gmail. i had another friend test and confirm the action. those of you who are on gmail, check this out. create a new mail. in subject, put 'here it is'. in body of message, put 'see attachment'. don't attach anything. hit send. instead of sending the message, gmail will pop up a window saying: 'Do you mean to attach files? You wrote "see attachment" in your message, but there are no files attached. Send anyway?'

Discussion at:
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-chat/2786377/posts

Kinda makes ya wonder, don't it?
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dhouwn
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Re: Weird; gmail READS your mail?

Post by dhouwn » Sat Oct 01, 2011 6:46 pm

Makes me wonder what this has to do with NoScript.
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Guest

Re: Weird; gmail READS your mail?

Post by Guest » Sun Oct 02, 2011 4:32 am

Yow; now we've got both of us wondering!

I notice another user is having issues with gmail too. Related?
Would NoScript have caught something in either case?
I have no clue (still looking for the "DUH" Smiley) but inquiring minds want to know these things! :?:
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Alan Baxter
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Re: Weird; gmail READS your mail?

Post by Alan Baxter » Sun Oct 02, 2011 3:15 pm

Not a NoScript issue, so I've moved it to the Security forum. You'll need to register, UncleJaque, if you want to discuss this, but it doesn't look like anyone here is interested anyhow. (Guest and UncleJaque are the same user.)
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therube
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Re: Weird; gmail READS your mail?

Post by therube » Sun Oct 02, 2011 3:39 pm

Hasn't it long been know that they "read" it in order to provide you with targeted advertising.
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Re: Weird; gmail READS your mail?

Post by GµårÐïåñ » Tue Dec 13, 2011 1:53 am

The issue presented, assuming not a troll, is not a big deal with respect to not being related to NoScript as we have areas on the forum for just this kind of off topic non related stuff. However, WHERE it was posted was inappropriate, agreed. What you or I may find useless and unworthy of discussion, others might.
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Re: Weird; gmail READS your mail?

Post by Hungry Man » Thu Feb 09, 2012 4:46 am

Every mail client that provides spam heuristics "reads" your mail - the difference is that GMail doesn't just scan for spam it also scans for key words that, when combined, give hints as to what the conversation is about, though nothing specific really.

Computers do not read like we do. We can infer words from context, we understand meaning and sarcasm, there isn't a word lost on us. Computers parse and accept metrics and when those metrics meet a criteria a little ping goes off somewhere and you get an ad that relates to it.

So I could say to someone "Oh man I just watched the latest Doctor Who episode it was great." And GMail might pick up "Doctor Who" and serve me an ad. It wouldn't even "realize" the rest of the sentence unless it was designed to do so, which would be weird since it would serve no purpose and make things way more complex.
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Re: Weird; gmail READS your mail?

Post by GµårÐïåñ » Fri Feb 10, 2012 4:23 pm

Not saying they do, and frankly I find what they already do to be overstepping, BUT, language processing heuristics are not as complicated as you think, although I will concede that depending on nationality and language and skill level it could be irrelevant and useless. Just think of the "grammar correction" algorithm in MS Word that will check the syntax of what you are writing and suggest a better way or even catch when you used the wrong word in the context, which prevents you from the age old use of things like "made" and "maid" incorrectly and bypassing spellcheck because they are both correct. The grammar check actually catches that the word you used, however correct in spelling, is incorrect in the context used. Now does that mean its super intelligent, aware and can think like us, don't be silly that's an outright no. But can it be done, certainly yes, and is it useful, to some extent yes, do we (at least I do) hate the fact that they intrude like this, you betcha. That's why I don't use public mail services and have since 1996 been running my own servers and managing my own email and hosted files. Every school I attended (ie. UCLA), institution I worked for (ie. IBM, NSA), or anytime I am GIVEN an address, I simply configure for a dummy redirect to my own mailbox and process them at my own end point. If its in Linux, a simple setup of .forward will do, or a tweak of the .profile, if its outlook driven a simple relay rule, etc, you get the idea. So the message simply continues and won't stop long enough to be "processed". Unfortunately, setup of a forward on public services with agenda (Yahoo, Gmail, Hotmail, etc) and gain doesn't necessarily mean they won't "capture and store" in transit but even they can be setup for the most part to forward. But, in Gmail for example saying, forward but keep a copy or archive, defeats the purpose of the whole thing. Anyway, you are right, but a bit more context and insight to consider.
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Re: Weird; gmail READS your mail?

Post by Hungry Man » Thu Feb 16, 2012 3:16 pm

I agree, you can create heuristics for language, even context and grammar. What I meant was that at a basic level when a program parses it can only "understand" what it's programmed to understand.

It is a good point though that you can create more complicated (entirely feasible, of course, and we see it in Word and other products) heuristics to check for context and grammar.

I just wanted to point out that every mail client that provide any decent spam protection will scan your attachments and emails for signature terms, phrases, words, or even "tones."
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Re: Weird; gmail READS your mail?

Post by GµårÐïåñ » Sat Feb 18, 2012 2:11 am

Hungry Man wrote:I agree, you can create heuristics for language, even context and grammar. What I meant was that at a basic level when a program parses it can only "understand" what it's programmed to understand.

You are right of course. I didn't mean to argue that, was just saying if there was a malicious intent, the heuristics can do more than just dumb checking for keywords.

It is a good point though that you can create more complicated (entirely feasible, of course, and we see it in Word and other products) heuristics to check for context and grammar.

Yeah, in something like a word processor or research tool or proofing software, a blessing, but in the wild can potentially be detrimental to any degree of privacy.

I just wanted to point out that every mail client that provide any decent spam protection will scan your attachments and emails for signature terms, phrases, words, or even "tones."

Agreed and understood. I was just providing some additional perspective in support of what you had said to point out there is even more that can happen, let alone the basic function we have come to expect and use. Sort of user beware kind of thing.

At some point, we have given up some degree of control over our information, but if we understand how much, at least we can mitigate it by not being ignorant about who/or what gets to see what we say and maybe be more careful about it.

Side note: Good to see you man, hope you've been well.
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Re: [UNRELATED] Weird; gmail READS your mail?

Post by Hungry Man » Sat Feb 18, 2012 7:50 pm

Very true. You can make heuristics for just about anything, really, that's the beauty of it. Language has so many subtleties and inflections it's not really reasonable to try to implement an engine that can understand sarcasm or tones across multiple languages etc but you can get basic context and "intent" of the message ie: they liked x they hated y without knowing what x or y are.

As you say, we've given up some control. In order for spam filters to work we need heuristics to check for the word "xxxx spam filter got this lol" 500 times and mispellings of words etc. This also means that someone out there is scanning our emails and it is technologically feasible for them to also try to figure out the dialogue.

Doing well, as always :D I hope you are as well. Always nice to read your posts, consistently well informed.

edit: And now it's saying I'm triggering the spam filter lol perhaps it was a certain word that starts with V and makes older men feel young?
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Re: [UNRELATED] Weird; gmail READS your mail?

Post by GµårÐïåñ » Thu Feb 23, 2012 8:29 am

Hungry Man wrote:Very true. You can make heuristics for just about anything, really, that's the beauty of it. Language has so many subtleties and inflections it's not really reasonable to try to implement an engine that can understand sarcasm or tones across multiple languages etc but you can get basic context and "intent" of the message ie: they liked x they hated y without knowing what x or y are.

Exactly.

As you say, we've given up some control. In order for spam filters to work we need heuristics to check for the word "xxxx spam filter got this lol" 500 times and mispellings of words etc. This also means that someone out there is scanning our emails and it is technologically feasible for them to also try to figure out the dialogue.

BIngo.

Doing well, as always :D I hope you are as well. Always nice to read your posts, consistently well informed.

Good to hear. I make due and hanging in there. Thank you, its kind of you to say. When you have well informed people around you, it makes it easier to open up. You bring intelligence and understanding to the table too, so it helps :)

edit: And now it's saying I'm triggering the spam filter lol perhaps it was a certain word that starts with V and makes older men feel young?

LMAO, good one :lol:
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