Over 40 per cent of the British public admit that they are concerned about how their email provider scans for adverts.


According to research by GMX, 40 per cent are concerned about their emails being scanned for target advertising while a further 40 per cent are unaware that this is common practise. As a result of this, one in three Britons want the ability to opt out of this activity.


The ‘Attitudes to Email' study found that the average Briton has two separate personal email addresses with many heavy users of free email services, though 18 per cent of respondents were not bothered by the practice and only 2 per cent believed that the practice was in their best interest.


The analysis of this content by providers seems to be a sore point for many consumers as there is a stark contrast between consumers' everyday reliance on free email services and their uneasiness about their privacy. The figures lend weight to the assumption that most free email users take the scanning of emails to be the ‘price' they pay for using a free service.


Eva Heil, managing director at GMX, said: “It is understandable that many Britons are wary about their private emails being scanned for advertising reasons.  It is certainly important that every user is at least informed if this is done by their email service.


“Most users only realise that their personal emails are being used in this way after noticing strangely optimised ads around their Inbox.  British consumers should bear in mind that they have a choice of free email services that don't do this.  If they are uncomfortable with the practice, they should vote with their feet.”