Over 40 percent of Britons who use Webmail are unaware that a number of free e-mail providers, including Google's Gmail, scan their private e-mail messages for keywords that are then linked to targeted advertising, says free e-mail provider GMX.
The Attitudes to E-mail study revealed that a further 40 percent of free e-mail users were concerned by the practice while 33 percent want to be able to opt out of the process.
"It is understandable that many Britons are wary about their private e-mails being scanned for advertising reasons. It is certainly important that every user is at least informed if this is done by their e-mail service," said Eva Heil, managing director of GMX.
The research also identified that on average web users in the UK have two separate free personal e-mail accounts that they check at least once a day. According to GMX, most free e-mail users feel scanning of e-mails is the 'price' they pay for using a free service.
Most users only realize that their personal e-mails are being used in this way after noticing strangely optimized ads around their Inbox. British consumers should bear in mind that they have a choice of free e-mail services that don't do this. If they are uncomfortable with the practice, they should vote with their feet, added Heil.
This story, "Free Webmail Users Unaware of 'Price'" was originally published by PC Advisor (UK).