Venture capitalist and TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington wrote on his blog today that he’s “nearly certain” Google once snooped into his Gmail account after he broke a story about the company.
Arrington writes that his source for the story later came up to him in person and said Google showed the source Arrington’s email correspondence. Since the source used a non-Google email account to send the information, Arrington concluded that Google found the message by accessing his account with permission. Google later fired the source, according to Arrington.
The story comes after the revelation Thursday that Microsoft accessed a blogger’s private Hotmail account after a former Microsoft employee leaked proprietary information about Windows 8. Microsoft defended its actions by saying it has the right to search its own servers without a court order if it has a strong suspicion of intellectual property theft.
Many email services like Gmail, Outlook, and Yahoo Mail have clauses in their terms of service that say the companies can access your account without permission if they suspect intellectual property theft.
We’ve reached out to Google and Arrington for comment.