Gmail users claim Google is sending unauthorized spam emails from their accounts [updated]

In what can only be described as yet another set back for Google’s privacy battle, Gmail users are accusing the search giant of accessing their contact lists and sending spam emails to contacts with non-Gmail email addresses. “STOP IT!,” an irate user wrote on Google’s support forums. “At no point did I say it was ok for Google to send email messages to my non-GMail contacts recommending they sign up for GMail.” The user, posting to Google’s forum under the name MrCheck, claims a contact of his responded back to the unauthorized email and informed him that he doesn’t use Gmail or Google Talk. Further investigating supposedly found that Google sent his contacts with non-Gmail email addresses a spam email that highlighted the benefits of Gmail and Google Talk, inviting them to join the services. There was no evidence of the sent email in MrCheck’s sent box according to his post. Numerous others have shared similar stories as well, claiming that Google has spammed their contacts. The accusations come at a time where the Mountain View-based company is in the midst of dealing with a number of privacy hiccups that have damaged its public image. Read on for Google’s response

UPDATE: Google responded to the issue and informed the users that the email is sent as a response to a chat invite. “It sounds like you are seeing chat invite emails,” said Sarah, a Gmail Community Manager. “These emails are generally sent when you invite a non-Gmail user to chat with you.”

[Via CNET]

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