| This 201 message thread spans 7 pages: < < 201 ( 1 2 3 4  6 7 ) > > || |
|28 Privacy and Civil Liberties Organizations|
Urge Google to suspend Gmail...
| 7:20 pm on Apr 7, 2004 (gmt 0)|
|The 28 organizations are voicing their concerns about Google’s plan to scan the text of all incoming messages for the purposes of ad placement, noting that the scanning of confidential email for inserting third party ad content violates the implicit trust of an email service provider. |
Open Letter to Google to Suspend Gmail [privacyrights.org]
| 2:42 am on Apr 11, 2004 (gmt 0)|
|>>why not let the "average surfer" make up his or her own mind? |
>>Planes get hijacked. Consumers give permission.
In the same way that most spyware, as far the legal definiton goes, is installed with consumer's 'permission'? Plus 1GB of space is a nice way to soften the blow for the minority who read the terms and conditions.
|One last thing: I do agree Google could and should have handled much of this (and other Gmail introduction issues) better. They should have clearly predicted and PROACTIVELY defused much of this mess, especially with regards to privacy-hyper-sensitive Europe. Google's got some incredibly smart people (I know... I'm friends with lots of 'em, and I suppose I should have started off with that as a disclaimer :D)... but clearly, some folks seemed to have dropped the ball when it comes to Gmail PR and marketing |
Exactly. Why has Google's response been so poor? Google seem to be dropping the ball quite frequently when it comes to this type of issue.
|I'm not even aware of a single case in which Google has shared someone's search history with a law enforcement agent, or volunteered to do so. |
Then with all due respect, you are not looking hard enough.
|Google is, I still honestly believe, a Good Company. I trust them, and have seen no reason not to. All this talk of well, they COULD do this, they COULD do that... ack! :¦ And the sky could fall tomorrow. |
12 months ago I probably would have agreed with you. In 12 months time, when Google answers to shareholders, I will probably agree even less. I've been a vocal supporter of Google (and I rarely get on my soap box like this ;)), but I cannot support Gmail.
| 10:55 am on Apr 11, 2004 (gmt 0)|
|Google is, I still honestly believe, a Good Company. I trust them, and have seen no reason not to. |
Google are neither good or bad - they are a very efficient commercial enterprise.
Anybody who believes that a commercial enterprise, soon to go IPO, should be classed as 'good' and trustworthy, is asking for trouble.
Its not an anti-Google thing - ALL commercial organisations need to be seen as 'ethically variable' at best. Past behaviour is no guarantee of future behaviour, particularly as the future involves IPO and shareholder demands.
| 12:07 pm on Apr 11, 2004 (gmt 0)|
After reading this thread, Im left with a very bad taste - one dripping of "political correctness" and whining that characterizes the state of the US today.
I believe it was already stated here, but no one guarantees privacy, not the constitution, the gov't - no one except people that mis-read anything they want to their advantage and then hire a lawyer to support it.
Point two - why all this fervor over email, when MS has already announced that their new browser being released, not only does the same personalization, but goes even further to store info on each user - and no one is crying out about that. It's a shame that people have come to the point where they think that a free service like the internet should be regulated like a paid utility, destroying the original concept of the entire net. Sorry, but as long as 80% of the surfers out there are clueless when it comes to email and browsers, and even more importantly, are so apethetic they don't care who gets elected to make laws over their lives, then none of these media-attention grabbers will ever make any difference in the grand scheme.
</rant off> (Guess I'm showing my age)
| 12:12 pm on Apr 11, 2004 (gmt 0)|
First, nothing in Gmail's terms of service is any different than Hotmail's or any other free e-mail account, or Earthlink's or any other ISP's for thier POP3 accounts, except for the ads. So any arguement other than the targeted ads is complete nonsense.
As for the targeted ads, if you have a problem with targeted ads appearing by your e-mails DON'T SIGN UP. GEEZ. It's not like Google is forcing you to use thier product. It's not like they are hiding what they are doing, either. In any case, I think most people will either ignore the ads completely, or find them useful. If you e-mail somebody "Hey Frank, where is a good dentist here in Chicago?", and you get an ad for a dentist in Chicago, I think most people would think that's a GOOD thing.
| 4:36 pm on Apr 11, 2004 (gmt 0)|
<<as long as 80% of the surfers out there are clueless when it comes to email and browsers, and even more importantly, are so apethetic they don't care who gets elected to make laws over their lives,...>>
Hit the nail there.
There are privacy laws with respect to the use of private information from many communication media, usually to protect us from the government itself. Now corporations almost equal government in the ability to collect and abuse private information. So if you want some privacy on the "new" Net medium it will need to be legislated. Worse, it will need to be internationally legislated (so picking on those European attitudes might be a bad idea - they just might be ahead of us).
Conveniently, the Internet is proving to be a most effective way of raising public awareness (after a blog is picked up by mainstream press) and Internet users the most affected by this issue. With luck, Google will hit some of the clueless 80% with a good hard awakening (like seeing their name/information badly mis-associated) and new legislation will be only, well, 10 years away...
| 5:42 pm on Apr 11, 2004 (gmt 0)|
Again ... why are you people so concerned with everyone else's business? If you don't like GMail's policy, don't use them.
And if you want to go an extra step, you can configure your mail server not to be able to send mail to or receive mail from gmail users. No big deal.
It's pretty stupid of you to try to stop the service from launching just because YOU don't agree with their policy. Personally, I couldn't care less and I look forward to using their service. I only use free email accounts for signing up for websites so I don't have to give out my "real" one and get spammed. Problem is I have to log in to Yahoo every 2 - 3 days and delete everything to make room. Google will fix that problem for me, plus they'll be able to show me ads for sites that have similar content as to what I'm already signing up for.
This is a GOOD thing that I am looking forward to receiving and morons like you are trying to stop it? Mind your own freakin business - if you don't like it, don't sign up. Don't ruin it for me and others who are happily waiting for this service to become available.
| 6:53 pm on Apr 11, 2004 (gmt 0)|
A valid point. If it's what you want you should be able to use it.
It's called "Gmail" after all. Is that different from "email"?
It's the person using Gmail and its future competitors without realizing the implications (if I send you Gmail my information is scanned) who might benefit from a name distinction. Most people think of email as electronic mail with many of the characteristics of regular mail (reasonable) including some level of privacy. A clear distinction between Google ("ScAdMail" - scanned ad mail) and "email" ( full disclosure as discussed above) might go a long way to clarifying the issue for everyone.
Of course, fewer people would use it....so I'm not sure Google would want that clear a distinction. You personally wouldn't mind adding a statement to any email you send out saying, "Notice: your response to this email will be scanned and recorded by Google for commercial purposes.", would you?
| 10:37 pm on Apr 11, 2004 (gmt 0)|
|"Notice: your response to this email will be scanned and recorded by Google for commercial purposes." |
Sure, Google should go ahead and put that on every outgoing e-mail.
Also, every ISP (AOL, MSN, Earthlink, Comcast) and every company which offers e-mail should tag outgoing e-mails with:
|"Notice: Your response to this e-mail will be RECORDED, STORED on our servers, SCANNED for viruses and possible spam-marks, SHARED with law enforcement agents upon receipt of a valid subpoena. |
Recorded, stored, scanned, possibly shared. Gee, Gmail isn't sounding so comparatively nefarious now, is it? ;)
And also, for the record, Google has stated that all information about each scanned e-mail will be discarded after the ads for that particular e-mail are served up.
| 12:15 am on Apr 12, 2004 (gmt 0)|
<<every ISP (AOL, MSN, Earthlink, Comcast) and every company which offers e-mail should tag outgoing e-mails>>
| 2:51 am on Apr 12, 2004 (gmt 0)|
You know, one of the biggest problems in the United States is that people don't want to THINK anymore - they want everyone else to do it for them.
This entire thread proves that.
You can't run around putting pillows and bumpers on everything just so a few morons don't get hurt. It's not your responsibility, obligation, or right, it's theirs.
Besides, we're talking about a simple COMPUTER-CONTROLLED word scan here for content matching. It's not like a real person is sitting there reading everyone's mail and deciding what ads to show them.
If privacy is a concern, don't use the service and don't email people who do. Other than that, mind your own damn business.
| 5:32 pm on Apr 12, 2004 (gmt 0)|
As an aside...
Does anyone know if the same lobby groups have made any representation about firewall default blocking website content or ISP's controlling the circulation of such things as legitimate email newsletters by blocking them and circulation of emails by implementing inaccurate spam blocks as a result of a 'report' by someone?
Although these are not privacy / disclosure issues, they do concern the control of freedom and publishing in various ways.
| 3:11 pm on Apr 13, 2004 (gmt 0)|
|If you want 100% privacy - don't use any email - use a pen and paper and the postal service. |
Not true. Until 1973, the U.S. government secretly opened the mail [derechos.net] of U.S. citizens on a regular basis. I would bet they are doing it again now in the name of protecting us from terrorism. I believe that modern technology would probably allow reading a typical letter without even opening the envelope.
| 5:13 pm on Apr 13, 2004 (gmt 0)|
From News.com [news.com.com]
|"As long as it's transparent to people when they sign up that Google is monitoring their e-mail usage and passing that information on for marketing purposes, then they probably wouldn't be breaking any legislation," a representative of the information commissioner's office said. "Until Gmail's up and running, though, we can't be certain." |
| 6:15 pm on Apr 15, 2004 (gmt 0)|
What about all the rest of the net that has to unwillingly use Gmail when they reply to a gmail based user?
Or do we all just add "gmail" in the header to our spam filter list?
| 10:32 am on Apr 18, 2004 (gmt 0)|
Talk about misinformation! From what I read, Google isn't passing on any information--even to them selves (information retained on which ads displayed is without referrence to who it was displayed for).
|As long as...Google is monitoring their e-mail usage and passing that information on for marketing purposes |
To address your second point first, for what reason would you refuse a gmail? Spam filters are for blocking unwanted emails because of content, regardless of who sent it (even if you use who sent it to determin that the content is unwanted). Since you the exact same content would be accepted if it came from another source, why not accept it from gmail?
|What about all the rest of the net that has to unwillingly use Gmail when they reply to a gmail based user? |
Or do we all just add "gmail" in the header to our spam filter list?
As far as sending to gmail, since the receiver of an email has full legal right to do what ever they want with receivd emails, there is no reason not to send to a gmail address. The receiver of an email could, if they so choose, print the email and hang it on every door in the city (presuming the owners of the doors lets them, of course). Futhermore, if I had both a pop3 account and a gmail account, I could forward all my email from my pop3 to my gmail and you would be none the wiser.
Personally, I am dismayed by all the fear mongering and other misinformation I'm seeing from people whom I thought would know better. (Note: please don't think I'm referring to any particular individual, for I'm not.)
| 11:14 am on Apr 18, 2004 (gmt 0)|
|What about all the rest of the net that has to unwillingly use Gmail when they reply to a gmail based user? |
No one has to 'unwillingly' use Gmail do they?
|Or do we all just add "gmail" in the header to our spam filter list? |
If that is what users want to do - why not? It's called freedom of choice.
It will be interesting to see how far the anti-Gmail groups will go in restricting the freedom of choice of others.
| 11:58 am on Apr 18, 2004 (gmt 0)|
Something I've been wondering, just how much, if any, connection Yahoo, Microsoft, et. al., have with these groups. It wouldn't suprise me if there is a major link (read: dollars) behind the scenes. I'm not not saying there is a link, for I've zero information pointing in that direction; it's just a hunch.
| 7:09 pm on Apr 23, 2004 (gmt 0)|
The 4th Amendment is applied to email, via the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) in the U.S. which established a legal expectation of privacy for personal email.
While the gov't may be scanning your emails (especially post Patriot Act), that is not always the most important aspect. Currently, due to this legislation (and the 4th Amendment backing it up) you, a private company or citizen, cannot expect my ISP to hand over my emails to you for a civil matter (although you can certainly ask for them). If you try, I have a right to know about it and have an opportunity to argue/defend against it -- only because of those protections. Think about your own lives here people -- think messy divorce, think defamation claim, think harassment suit, etc.
I will repeat here, that if you have never been involved in a lawsuit you should refrain from commenting about the privacy aspects being trivial. The 180 day storage aspect is important and non-trivial (if email is stored for 180 days or longer, it becomes classified as "database record" and is no longer "email", and loses the 4th amendment protections).
| 11:38 pm on Apr 23, 2004 (gmt 0)|
You must participate in stock market forums...!
I don't think M$ or Y! woiuld pay to have someone criticize what they themselves probably do without any disclosure at all....
| 8:48 am on Apr 24, 2004 (gmt 0)|
Wow, everyone's getting really worked up about this!
All G's going to do is have some computer scan your mail and give you ads. Some people are acting as though Larry [google.co.uk] and Sergey [google.co.uk] themselves are going to be reading their e-mail!
I really don't see what all the fuss is about.
| 8:57 am on Apr 24, 2004 (gmt 0)|
That's exactly what I've been saying. It's really no different than running anti-spam software when you think about it.
Anti-spam software is a computer program that opens every email you receive, searches for "keywords" that are known phrases used by spammers, and decides whether to show you the message or not.
GMail will use a computer program that opens every email you receive, searches for "keywords" that are known phrases used by AdWords advertisers, ad decides whether to show you an advertisement or not.
The process is virtually identical - no human will see it, results are discarded after the scan, etc. So how come people are complaining about this but they don't complain about anti-spam software which operates in the exact same manner?
Bottom line ... if you don't like the policy, don't use the service and don't exchange e-mail with people who do. It's not your job to police the Internet. Personally I don't find GMail's policies intrusive and I LOOK FORWARD to using their service. And a bunch of cry baby organizations and webmasters want to shut it down because they don't freakin get it.
You people have the right not to use the service, but what gives you the right to tell me that *I* can't use it either? Why is your definition of what is wrong/intrusive better than mine? I find nothing wrong with GMail. So back off and mind your own business.
| 9:05 am on Apr 24, 2004 (gmt 0)|
Yeah, I'm really looking forward to it too.
No response on my request for information on the about [google.com] page though, but I guess they've been getting millions with all this publicity.
"Civil Liberties" indeed. Has no-one noticed what Dubya's been up to in the name of anti-terrorist measures?
Puts those supposedly broken by Gmail to shame.
| 9:27 am on Apr 24, 2004 (gmt 0)|
|It's really no different than running anti-spam software when you think about it. |
There are two significant differences I can think of:
First, anti-spam is to protect other people -- it's like the security checks at an airport.
Gmail is like the security officers attempting to sell you a PDA upgrade and some clean underwear based on what they found when searching your baggage.
Second, people will be making money based on the contents of emails I write. Where's my cut? Surely if the reader clicks an ad that is displayed next to one of my emails, half the payment is due to me.
| 9:35 am on Apr 24, 2004 (gmt 0)|
How 'bout a free e-mail account with a Gig of storage?
| 9:36 am on Apr 24, 2004 (gmt 0)|
|Second, people will be making money based on the contents of emails I write. Where's my cut? Surely if the reader clicks an ad that is displayed next to one of my emails, half the payment is due to me. |
Companies already make money due to the e-mail you send.
- Anti-virus companies
- Anti-spam companies
and so on.
Google is not profiting from the potential brilliance or emotional heft or business savviness of your writing. They are parsing it for keywords, just as anti-spam companies and anti-virus companies do. When someone writes "Buy v1agra now!," an anti-spam program may see that and perform an action (perhaps place it in a junk folder). When you write "Anyone know of a quality portable music player?" Gmail's computers may see that and perform an action (perhaps placing "Buy an iPod" ads on the righthand side of the screen).
Unless you feel that the anti-spam and anti-virus and similar companies owe you a portion of their corporate proceeds, then similarly, Gmail owes you nothing except, perhaps, the aggregate assurance that mail you send to Gmail users will end up in their inboxes :)
| 10:09 am on Apr 24, 2004 (gmt 0)|
|Google is not profiting from the potential brilliance or emotional heft or business savviness of your writing. They are parsing it for keywords, just as anti-spam companies and anti-virus companies do |
I covered anti-spam and anti-virus in my first point. That's a security issue, and I am happy for them to double-check my efforts.
|When you write "Anyone know of a quality portable music player?" Gmail's computers may see that and perform an action (perhaps placing "Buy an iPod" ads on the righthand side of the screen). |
If I'd replied to the email, saying "IPods are good. I got mine from www.widgets.com/ipod" and Google had added six other iPod vendors on the right -- how is that much different from scumware?
| 10:50 am on Apr 24, 2004 (gmt 0)|
IMHO, still preferable to graphical banner ads.
| 5:36 pm on Apr 24, 2004 (gmt 0)|
Actually, that's the EXACT reason why I'm looking forward to GMail. When I get an e-mail from someone (even if its a SPAM) about a product I may be interested in, the advertisements to the side will tell me a bunch of OTHER places I can get that product. I can compare prices with a couple of clicks without even having to search for the product.
I hate SPAM and SPAMMERS, but if a spammer happens to hit me with a product that I AM interested in buying, I've got a list of other places I can buy it from right next to the message so I can still get it but don't have to give my money to the spammer :)
Which is also something for AdWords users to consider - if you are someone who SELLS products that are frequently spamvertised, this is going to be a GREAT opportunity to let the spammers advertise for YOU. I can't count how many spams I received for those stupid little remote control cars last Christmas - If GMail was active then I could have bought a bunch of them wholesale, set up an AdWords account, and made a decent amount of money for myself.
I understand that maybe you don't care for your e-mail being scanned, and hey that's your right. You have the right not to use GMail and not to interact with people who do. You *DO NOT* have the right to tell me *I* can't.
| 5:50 pm on Apr 24, 2004 (gmt 0)|
>>You have the right not to use GMail and not to interact with people who do. You *DO NOT* have the right to tell me *I* can't.
Similarly you or anyone else do not have the right to use content I wrote and intended to be private, to serve adverts based on that content. Because it's impossible to know the final destination of any email (and my emails WILL end up in a gmail inbox before long), this is exactly what you are saying I must put up with. I can't accept your suggestion throughout this thread that those opposed to gmail are just trying to spoil it for everyone else and should "Mind [their] own freakin business". I will mind my own business when your email account doesn't interfere with mine.
This is about what YOU do with MY email content. I don't want you sharing it with advertisers so you get a bunch of free email storage, thanks all the same.
| 8:37 pm on Apr 24, 2004 (gmt 0)|
What would stop me from doing that anyway? I mean really, think about it. Once you send an e-mail to someone it's out of your hands. I could forward it to anyone, print it and distribute it to your competitors, pass it around a college campus, whatever. You really have no say. If there was any sensitive information in there, then it's really YOUR mistake for putting it there without requiring a non-disclosure from me. And if you DID have that document, then if that information gets distributed or used for anything other than a communication between you and me, then your problem is with ME - not with my mail server.
Technically EVERYONE involved profits from your "content". The web host or mail provider profits because they are selling that recipient storage space for their email. The ISP who connected the user profits because that user is logging on to read your message. How deep do you want to go? This is really a silly argument.
If you want to secure your content, you should exclude e-mail and limit yourself to phone conversations directly with the person you are speaking with. Oh but wait, they could tape the call and play it for someone else too. Maybe you should just leave the Internet and only speak to people in person. Oh wait, they could repeat what you told them and tell someone else.
Are you kidding me? Quit trying to control the Internet - if you don't like how the Internet gives people the ability to exchange information then LEAVE. The net won't miss you and neither will I.
Once you send someone an e-mail message, it's out of your hands. You don't deserve a "cut" if someone else reads it or profits from it unless every e-mail you send out is copyrighted individually. You seem to think you have "rights" that simply don't exist. Copyright EVERY e-mail you send out (a true legal, documented copyright, not an "implied" copyright that exists merely because you created it). THEN I might agree with what you're saying. Until then, quit trying to control the Internet and taking rights away from other people. The only RIGHT you have is the right to remain silent... exercise it.
| 9:12 pm on Apr 24, 2004 (gmt 0)|
Okay, DigitalTV, I do agree with many of your points as you've noticed, but I am concerned about the tone of the discussion here. Even though I have sometimes unfortunately veered into sarcasm, I must suggest that the tone of this debate has been getting more unpleasant :(.
Not everyone who is uncomfortable with Gmail is trying to limit its use for others. And additionally, though I personally don't really understand or agree with the privacy fuss in this context, it's like riding in an airplane: regardless of whether fears are unfounded (which, statistically I think is absolutely the case), it's inappropriate to call others stupid and such for their fears.
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