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Google Gmail Advertising Forum

This 201 message thread spans 7 pages: < < 201 ( 1 2 3 4 5 [6] 7 > >     
28 Privacy and Civil Liberties Organizations
Urge Google to suspend Gmail...
pageoneresults




msg:1553370
 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]

 

ThatAdamGuy




msg:1553520
 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.

j4mes




msg:1553521
 10:28 pm on Apr 24, 2004 (gmt 0)

Yes, I do feel as though this is beginning to go downhill.

I'd just like to make one or two (or eight, in retrospect) points which I would like those with opposing opinions to respond to so that we can have a good, objective discussion, and benefit from it.

OK, here goes:

  • A machine is parsing your e-mail. Not a human. A machine. This machine is not aware that it is parsing e-mail, and has no intention of sharing your e-mail with any of its friends.
  • A relevant ad is far more helpful than an completely irrelevant one.
  • A text ad is far more pleasing to the eye, and far less obtrusive, than a banner ad.
  • Please stop asking for a cut of the advertising, it's silly. Your "cut" is a free e-mail account with a Gigabyte of storage, which is a pretty good cut IMO.
  • It is true that your e-mail may end up in a G-mail box and be used as a basis for advertising. But Google has not stolen your intellectual property. It is a machine and it is advertising. That's it. Nothing sinister. (Refer to point #1).
  • I don't understand how Google is "infringing civil liberties". In May 2002, John Ashcroft lifted the ban on the FBI on domestic spying. They can read your e-mails without breaking any laws. And here we are worried about some computer giving us relevant ads? (British by the way, but Tony's trying something similar).
  • I agree that advertising is different to anti-spam or anti-virus, but not much different. No matter whether the purpose of the thing is different, i.e. security/convenience, a computer is still reading your e-mail. Yes, I know, the anti-spam isn't giving me ads based on what is typed, but it happily carries out move/delete operations based on what is written. Why has no-one worried about privacy before? (Perhaps they have but there wasn't an election coming up so it didn't get mentioned? Sorry, cynicism.)
  • Finally, I appreciate that everyone here is smart and has thought carefully about this, so please no-one get offended. Really, you're all great people.

    So, with this in mind, I welcome constructive criticism of all of my points (except maybe the last one :) and I look forward to a proper debate.

    Now I'm going to go to bed, I have homework to do tomorrow that's due in on Monday and I need my sleep. (No, really).

    Good night.

    -- j4mes.

  • paybacksa




    msg:1553522
     10:34 pm on Apr 24, 2004 (gmt 0)

    Digitalv, your comments are welcome but naive. You are welcome to your opinion and free to make your own mistakes, but you are simpy not showing awareness of reality here in advising others that they can either use it or not and be fine. I am referring to the US - are you in the U.S.?

    Phone call privacy is protected by laws quite different from email or in-person. Similarly in-person interactions are governed by law and precedent. Ditto for emails. By law, in many cases emails are PRIVATE regardless of what you have said about them (even if sent unencrypted, even if virus scanned, even if forwarded, etc etc etc). Talk to your lawyer.

    You can be sued for alot of money for what you say and write, and very strong laws back this up. Anyone can sue anyone, and it can be very expensive to pay to defend yourself. It is common to be sued for damages and never make it to court, because it is so expensive to litigate. In other words, people pay up regularly *even though they are not guilty* simply because it is cheaper than proving innocence. Ever say anything slanderous in an email? Probably.

    Sue me for what i said on a webpage, and I will have to defend myself at my own cost. Sue me for what you found in an email I sent to a third party, and I will counter sue you for privacy invasion and perhaps theft or tresspass, in addition to having the "evidence" thrown out. Are you really suggesting we don't need any such privacy and don't have it now and should simply not send emails if we want to keep stuff private? That is completely ridiculous.

    wattsnew




    msg:1553523
     11:30 pm on Apr 24, 2004 (gmt 0)

    It's been fascinating to read everyone's thoughts (pun intended). There are clearly many views about what email is now, or should be, or could be. How we each have slightly different expectations about email, privacy, commerce. Healthy stuff.

    Perhaps we agree on the following:

    If we want privacy and wisiwyg (what I send is what you get), we pay for it and we can demand it - just like at the post office.

    If we want free - we can accept whatever manipulation is on offer in return - or not.

    The only caveat is this: all parties must be fully aware of the format they are using / receiving - in advance.

    Can we agree on that much?

    ThatAdamGuy




    msg:1553524
     12:12 am on Apr 25, 2004 (gmt 0)

    The issue, then, boils down to awareness. Since many of us forward our personal domain e-mail to our Gmail accounts, there's no disclosure. Personally, I see this as a non-issue, but others clearly disagree, and I don't see any way to reach a consensus on this point.

    digitalv




    msg:1553525
     12:15 am on Apr 25, 2004 (gmt 0)

    Naive? Heh.

    In the USA, where I live, there are no laws prohibiting the recording of a telephone conversation. None. The only law pertaining to recording conversations is that taped conversations cannot be used as evidence in court unless they were recorded by local or federal investigators with the proper warrant or both parties were aware that the call was being recorded and acknowledged their awareness on the recording.

    Other than that - I can tape every phone call I make or receive, share it with my friends, heck I can give it to the evening news and let them play it on the air. Remember a few years back when some dude with a scanner picked up a cell phone call with Newt Gingrich on one end? That call was played on national television and radio for weeks - nothing illegal about it, no penalties, etc. It's just that nothing that was said during the call could be used for or against him in any legal matters.

    As for everything else you said, the FACT is that you don't have the "rights" you think you have pertaining to e-mail (and apparently other areas, but that's not really the point). Granted there are certain implied rights about two-way communication and that that communication isn't interupted, intercepted, or altered, but if that's your only concern then just DON'T SEND MESSAGES TO PEOPLE WHO USE GMAIL!

    I mean, what else is there? If you're worried about someone forwarding a mail you sent to someone ELSE with GMail, then your problem is with the person you sent mail to - not with GMail. I mean really, explain to me how else it would get there?

    You have a problem with GMail and their policies - fine, I can live with that. You're not going to create an account, and you're not going to send email to anyone who does. I can live with that too. But why does it have to go beyond that? If you're worried about an email message "eventually" getting to GMail, then it sounds like you need to re-evaluate who you're emailing. If what you're sending out is so important that it should never be forwarded, you really need to screen your e-mail recipients and make sure they're never going to forward their mail anywhere.

    If I sent information to someone (Gmail or not) that I considered to be private between me and them and they forward it to someone else, my beef is going to be with THAT PERSON - the person I sent mail to - not the owner of the mail server they forwarded it to.

    This whole argument is lame, really. I really hope Google doesn't reconsider anything and goes forward exactly as planned. I'm looking forward to using GMail.

    j4mes




    msg:1553526
     9:13 am on Apr 25, 2004 (gmt 0)

    Hey wattsnew,

    Yes, I think we can certainly all agree on those points.

    I think we should probably stop arguing about communication rights. We are all living in different countries, and are therefore subject to different laws; the laws regarding e-mail communication/spam/etc. are different over here than they are in the US, and are probably slightly different between states too. (e.g. Florida ;)

    I do think that we need to just stop for a moment and really think about what is meant by "invasion of civil liberties" with regards to the computer that will be "reading" your mail. People need to realise that that is all it is. A machine. An algorithm. It is nothing sinister, but people are treating it as though the moment you open a G-mail account, your e-mails will be picked through by hand for anything libelous and then used against you for some malicious purpose.

    It's advertising. It keeps services like http e-mail free. :)

    -- James

    BeeDeeDubbleU




    msg:1553527
     9:25 am on Apr 25, 2004 (gmt 0)

    Are you kidding me? Quit trying to control the Internet

    Yes - give it up! That's Google's job.

    j4mes




    msg:1553528
     10:56 am on Apr 25, 2004 (gmt 0)

    There's an excellent essay here [bladam.com] which I think everyone should read. I think it covers everything that's been mentioned so far (and then some) about G-mail, and the protection of privacy in general.

    Definitely worth a look.

    -- James.

    j4mes




    msg:1553529
     11:04 am on Apr 25, 2004 (gmt 0)

    Are you kidding me? Quit trying to control the Internet

    Yes - give it up! That's Google's job.

    Here's [webdevelopersjournal.com] who controls the Internet.

    BeeDeeDubbleU




    msg:1553530
     11:44 am on Apr 25, 2004 (gmt 0)

    The operative word was "trying".

    j4mes




    msg:1553531
     12:12 pm on Apr 25, 2004 (gmt 0)

    Fair point.

    In that case, perhaps this [microsoft.com] is more realistic? ;D

    -- James.

    wattsnew




    msg:1553532
     4:00 pm on Apr 25, 2004 (gmt 0)

    j4mes,

    <<excellent essay here>> Adam's essay ia a great find. Thanks.

    ""Wringing our hands over Google isn't just misguided, it's dangerous in that it blinds us to the root of deeper problems in our society...:""

    paybacksa




    msg:1553533
     8:48 pm on Apr 26, 2004 (gmt 0)

    Adam's essay is filled with the same surface stuff, and also avoids the difficult issues. It is clearly pro-Gmail. Do we need yet another blog that counters "people will be reading my email" concerns with claims that people-dont-know-email-is-already-read-along-the way? More trivial filler. That is not important -- what is important is who can make use of what is read. That is indeed protected - at least so far.

    I don't know the 50 states rules, but many states that allow secret recording of telephone conversations specifically allow it only by a party to the conversation, and disallow it when more than two parties are involved. These details are important.

    Also, the Newt Gingrish cell phone thing was "fixed" shortly afterwards with a law that does indeed make it illegal to monitor cell phone conversations (even those sent unencrypted). It may not be illegal to own an 800MHz scanner these days, but it is now illegal to buy one and illegal to use one to listen in on cell phone conversations. Does that stop you from using your scanner to listen? No. But if you publicize my conversations I can pursue legal recourse, and perhaps recover damages.

    If you are interested in getting to a higher level there are scholarly works on privacy that are very good. Basically, I respectfully cited digitalv's comments as "naive" because they are very real and common libertarian beliefs, that have been addressed extensively in the privacy literature. I shared many of them until I did my reading... now I understand why they are naive. I suspect many of us respect and admire our libertarian roots -- but we need to get along in a human world.

    Systems based on strict fact do not work when governed by non-factual, emotional systems (like our legal and polictical systems). It's a bigger issue than gmail, but G is the one opening the Pandora's box so G is the one being lobbied by the advocates.

    [very simple example: how does one not send mail to gmail users, when gmail users may be using autoresponders or aliases? Is it really "my own fault" if my email to jim@jimswebsite.com ended up in the google archives because jim started aggregating his mail at jim@gmail.com? Should I have known better than to send my personal email to clueless idiot jim? and if not, should the consequences simply be my hard luck?]

    ThatAdamGuy




    msg:1553534
     9:50 pm on Apr 26, 2004 (gmt 0)

    Adam's essay is filled with the same surface stuff, and also avoids the difficult issues.

    I'm sorry you didn't find my blog entry sufficiently deep, but I am always pleased to get feedback. This is why I participate here actively and also have enabled commenting on my blog. Many of my blog entries have received comments from those who strongly disagree with me, and I enjoy the dialog.

    It is clearly pro-Gmail.

    Well, of course... anyone could likely tell that from the title! I challenge you to show me an unopinionated blog entry... or, for that matter, a truly unopinionated newspaper article ;). But IMHO, this shouldn't become an idealistic battle -- "Pro-choice / anti-abortion"-style!

    And seriously, what are the 'difficult issues' that you claim are missing from my analysis? I'm very curious to know.

    That is not important -- what is important is who can make use of what is read. That is indeed protected - at least so far.

    And I've addressed that. I agreed with Brad Templeton's call for strengthening or clarifying the ECPA. What else would you propose?

    If you are interested in getting to a higher level there are scholarly works on privacy that are very good.

    Specific suggestions?

    [very simple example: how does one not send mail to gmail users, when gmail users may be using autoresponders or aliases? Is it really "my own fault" if my email to jim@jimswebsite.com ended up in the google archives because jim started aggregating his mail at jim@gmail.com? Should I have known better than to send my personal email to clueless idiot jim? and if not, should the consequences simply be my hard luck?]

    Well, I completely agree with you that it's now impossible for folks to determine whether their mail will be stored in a Gmail account. You and I just disagree whether this is worthy of concern or not :)

    digitalv




    msg:1553535
     3:27 am on Apr 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

    very simple example: how does one not send mail to gmail users, when gmail users may be using autoresponders or aliases? Is it really "my own fault" if my email to jim@jimswebsite.com ended up in the google archives because jim started aggregating his mail at jim@gmail.com? Should I have known better than to send my personal email to clueless idiot jim? and if not, should the consequences simply be my hard luck?

    Yup.

    Think about what you're saying ... you want to prevent a service from launching because you're afraid that people might forward your e-mail there? Come on, man. I would be much more worried that "clueless idiot jim" would forward my mail to the WRONG account, or PRINT IT and leave it laying on his desk than forward it to a Gmail account.

    I mean really, what are you so afraid of? So Google is going to scan your e-mail and show the user ads - big deal! It's not like they're going to save a copy of it and index it in Google searches. It's not like they're going to share it with anyone or use it for anything, we're talking about a computer-scan which operates in a method no different than a modern spam filter.

    I guess I just don't get it ... you remind me of those people who are afraid of buying something online through a secure website because they're paranoid about security, but will HAND THEIR CREDIT CARD TO A WAITER and let him walk around the corner with it.

    Just so you're up to speed, here are some facts for you:

    (1) More credit card numbers are stolen by waiters and waitresses in a MONTH than by hacking databases or intercepting online transactions in a year.

    (2) More passwords are compromised by social engineering or plain old bribes than by hackers.

    (3) More "intellectual property" and trade secrets are leaked out by people who are PRIVY TO THE INFORMATION than by people who stumble upon it or hack their way to it.

    Gmail is not your enemy. It sounds like you have a problem with trust ... and if that's the case, maybe you shouldn't be sending any e-mail to anyone. You never know what they might to do with it. Besides, there is really a lot more to worry about there than GMail. In fact, I would feel safer with every private bit of information I have in my posession stored in Gmail than printed on a sheet of paper or stored on MY OWN COMPANY SERVERS! Not because I don't trust the people around me, but because I know it's a heck of a lot easier to break into a medium sized office like mine and walk out with a server or two, even with state of the art security systems, than it would be to get that information out of GMail.

    What is it you're worried about? I mean seriously, lets cut the crap and analogies and what if's ... what is it that you're worried about. Don't say you're worried about someone forwarding your mail to a GMail account, tell me WHY you have a problem with it if they did. Is it just because you don't want Google to "profit from my content"? Because if that's it, get over yourself :)

    Chndru




    msg:1553536
     2:03 pm on Apr 19, 2004 (gmt 0)

    Privacy International, which has offices in the United States and Europe, said it filed complaints with privacy and data-protection regulators in 17 countries in Europe, Canada and Australia.

    "As long as Google is clear and transparent, there is no data protection issue. And, as long as they get user's consent they will be following the EU's privacy and electronic communications directive," an ICO spokeswoman said

    More buzz than substance?

    Reuters [reuters.com]

    j4mes




    msg:1553537
     9:38 am on Apr 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

    Thanks for pointing us back in the right direction :D

    From [gmail.google.com...] ...

    1. Google does not send any email content or other personally identifiable information to advertisers.
    2. No humans read any Gmail messages to target advertising or related information that users may see on Gmail.
    3. Gmail only shows unobtrusive, targeted ads alongside your messages.

    Does Gmail intend to keep copies of my email even after I've deleted it, or closed my account?

    No. Google keeps multiple backup copies of messages so that we can recover them in case of errors or system failure. Even if a message has been deleted or an account is no longer active, messages may remain on our backup systems for some period of time. [highlghted by me] This is standard practice in the email industry, which Gmail and other major webmail services follow in order to provide a reliable service for users. [/highlghted by me] However, Google will make reasonable efforts to remove deleted information from our systems as quickly as is practical.

    In my opinion buzz, but I always welcome feedback.

    There's been a lot of talk about laws, especially those peertaining to telephone conversations, etc. Can we avoid this and just answer the key question: Why don't we want a computer parsing our e-mail?

    Ms Figueroa:
    we think it's an absolute invasion of privacy. It's like having a massive billboard in the middle of your home.

    Hey, at least it's a relavant billboard, as opposed to Hotmail/Yahoo/etc...

    Just a thought.

    -- James.

    4eyes




    msg:1553538
     10:30 am on Apr 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

    digitalv,

    You are clearly as partisan as others are anti.

    Personally, I will keep my own bigoted opinions until the product is fully launched.

    digitalv




    msg:1553539
     1:37 pm on Apr 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

    4eyes,

    So in other words ... you can't answer the question.

    pixel_juice




    msg:1553540
     4:43 pm on Apr 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

    Just so you're up to speed, here are some facts for you:

    (1) More credit card numbers are stolen by waiters and waitresses in a MONTH than by hacking databases or intercepting online transactions in a year.

    Considering that hackers stole an estimated 8 million credit card numbers in a single incident last year, I find this 'fact' rather hard to believe.

    My 'problem' with Gmail is that they intend to set a commercial precedent for the scanning of what should be private and confidential information. Fine, you personally do not care what happens to your personal information, but other people do and your continued suggestion that this is a personal problem for the people raising these concerns is rather misplaced.

    >>I would feel safer with every private bit of information I have in my posession stored in Gmail

    The clearly you are not concerned about privacy or security of your personal informaton. So I'm mystified as to why you want to belittle people that *are* concerned.

    j4mes




    msg:1553541
     5:10 pm on Apr 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

    Surely transmitting anything over email is insecure, since it is transmitted as unencrypted plain text.

    Gmail uses https, and to date I am not aware of them ever having been cracked, so data held on their servers is probably safer than on a home computer.

    And, once again, your email is being parsed by a computer. Not a person, a computer. A COMPUTER.

    Of course I'm concerned about security, that's what PGP's for.

    -- James.

    pixel_juice




    msg:1553542
     5:33 pm on Apr 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

    >>your email is being parsed by a computer. Not a person, a computer. A COMPUTER.

    I don't know, maybe it's just me. It doesn't make any difference to me what they use to analyse the content. it could be a PC, a team of people or a bunch of trained monkeys for all I care.

    Gmail reminds me of those horrendous supermarket clubcard schemes. Some of them work like this: First they put all the prices up, so that the clubcard 'discount' is in fact just getting the same product for the same price, except if you don't want a card where you pay more. Then they store records on every customer's purchase which they pass around their network of marketing partners and 'affiliated' companies (not that they tell you who that is).

    The point of these schemes is to compile a database on each customer which is then used for a huge amount of profit by the supermarkets and their partners, without the knowledge of the vast majority of people who sign up to them, and who don't read the cleverly worded terms and conditions.

    But in any case I can't see that anything Google are doing with Gmail is actually illegal, so I will just have sigh and do my best to avoid it. It'll be interesting to see how far other companies taking Gmail's lead will go.

    paybacksa




    msg:1553543
     5:36 pm on Apr 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

    I hope the snippets are appropriately snipped.

    "... you want to prevent a service from launching ..."
    No, I want the isues to be discussed and addressed before the service is launched.

    "I mean really, what are you so afraid of? So Google is going to scan your e-mail and show the user ads - big deal! It's not like they're going to save a copy of it and index it in Google searches. It's not like they're going to share it with anyone or use it for anything..."
    The consent G presents to users appears to actually allow them to do more with it, should they unilaterally decide to do so. In addition, they are required by law to disclose it under certain conditions. After 180 days, those emails are available to *anyone* who delivers a subpoena upon Google. Anyone. Subpoena in a civil trial does not even require a Judge's signature -- any lawyer can write one and send one.

    "you remind me...afraid of buying something online through a secure website...but will HAND THEIR CREDIT CARD TO A WAITER and let him walk around the corner with it."

    People commit crimes, and when they do there is a system to hold them accountable. That waiter is on a time card, the owner has his ss#, an investigation can determine his actions and he can be pursued as necessary. Simply put, he is breaking the law for which there are rules and consequences. Let's make sure we have good laws for what Google is trying to do, before they do it.

    "(1) More credit card numbers are stolen by waiters and waitresses in a MONTH than by hacking databases or intercepting online transactions in a year."
    Yes, there is alot of crime. Many of the jails are full. What is your point? Here we are saying G is doing something that is not technically illegal, but which has serious consequences and can be abused, because the laws are not clear enough.

    "2) More passwords are compromised by social engineering or plain old bribes than by hackers."
    True. But employees who give them up are bound to companies and policies, which whether you appreciate it or not are based on legal grounds. When a pw is compromised, an investigation can determine the root cause and assign liability. Some employees were not adequately trained. Some employees violated policies. The law works.

    "(3) More "intellectual property" and trade secrets are leaked out by people who are PRIVY TO THE INFORMATION than by people who stumble upon it or hack their way to it."
    Again, yes there is alot of crime. Look at all the CEOs and financial people getting tried these days. The point is that they ARE being tried, and if not then they ARE potentially to be investigated, if they broke the law.

    "It sounds like you have a problem with trust ..."
    Yes, I don't trust the lawyers who will love to see gmail in action. Also, Google is a commercial entity. As long as they have gobs of money, it appears they will be relatively benevolent, I will agree. If you expect me to think that Google will choose my privacy over their own commercial success, you must be kidding (especially post IPO when certain highly ethical behavior actually becomes illegal -- another story). Take a look at the legal resources they have put into making sure Gmail is technically legal, and I will highlight that as evidence of their self-serving commercial objectives -- as expected of any company doing business.

    "... and if that's the case, maybe you shouldn't be sending any e-mail to anyone. You never know what they might to do with it."
    This is very true. But if someone does something unsavory with info in my personal email, I can pursue damages based on the laws. That fact may act as a deterrent as well. I have protections for times when I must send relatively confidential information via unencrypted email.

    "...I would feel safer with every private bit of information I have in my posession stored in Gmail than printed on a sheet of paper or stored on MY OWN COMPANY SERVERS!..."
    Your company is as easy a target for lawyers seeking dirt on people with whom you communicate. Google represents an instant target for any litigation attorney, much like AOL has been for years for divorce attorneys. Someone suing you? As a first defense, counter claim malicious interference or something, and then subpeona Google for everything they have on that guy. If you find anything that guy doesn't want public, you've got leverage to get him to negotiate. Not ethical, but lawyers and litigants often find ways to skirt ethics and procedures with relative impugnity.

    "What is it you're worried about? I mean seriously, lets cut the crap and analogies and what if's ... what is it that you're worried about."

    Bottom line: you currently have privacy protections in the law, based on the 4th amendment and subsequent acts of congress. Certain parts of GMail appear to create a situation where those protections may be lost, inadvertently, and without the consent and outside of the control of the persons effected.

    digitalv




    msg:1553544
     7:59 pm on Apr 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

    Payback,

    Thank you for the detailed response, it's nice to hear some real issues and not just the regurgitated anti-Google "dont read my e-mail" crap that's out there. In response I would like to ask you two questions:

    (1) How would a subpeona requiring Google to turn over everything they had on a client be any different than the same action against Hotmail, Yahoo, a person's ISP, their regular U.S. Postal mail, etc.? Seems the same to me - if a court orders you to turn over information, you turn it over. If you DON'T turn it over, you're breaking the law. So what difference does it make whether you turn it over yourself or someone else turns it over for you?

    (2) What makes you think the data will be available for 180 days after it's deleted anyway? And even if it was ... again it goes back to how is Google any different from any other mail provider?

    I guess what I'm trying to ask is what could they possibly change other than NOT OFFERING THE SERVICE to eliminate themselves from this scenario? What you're asking doesn't seem realistic.

    4eyes




    msg:1553545
     7:47 am on Apr 28, 2004 (gmt 0)

    So in other words ... you can't answer the question.

    digitalv

    I chose not to answer your question because it was not directed at me, I am not the person arguing with your comments.

    I am just the person pointing out the lack of wisdom involved in having such fixed opinions on a product that has not yet reached final release.

    Personally I can see points on both side of the argument - many of these points will no doubt be cleared up before final release.

    For the record, there have been plenty of reasonable points made which answer your question, in this thread and others.

    The problem is that you seem unable to understand them.

    So, to answer you most recent question, I could answer your original question with ease, but there doesn't seem to be any point in so doing. You didn't understand when other people tried, you clearly have a fixed opinion on the matter, and I have no wish to argue with a closed mind when mine is still open and waiting for the final pieces of the jigsaw.

    Good luck with your anti-conspiracy theory.

    bird




    msg:1553546
     10:13 am on Apr 28, 2004 (gmt 0)

    There's a lot of opinion around on this topic, and a handful of facts. Most objections can be summarized by a few basic fears:

    fear of privacy violation
    First, what is privacy? Privacy has two aspects:
    - Seclusion (preventing intrusion into your private sphere)
    - Secrecy (preventing disclosure of your private information)

    Gmail doesn't intrude on anything or anyone, so we can skip this point here.
    The secrecy point says that your e-mail may not be disclosed to anyone who doesn't need to see or process it. Obviously the recipient needs to see it, and by technical necessity all the ISPs and e-mail services on its way need to process it. Consequently, if you send e-mail to a Gmail user, you implicitly give permission to Google to process it as necessary. The dreaded "scanning" for ad targeting does not create any additional disclosure, because Google is already processing the message anyway.

    Since there is no unauthorized disclosure, there is no privacy violation in Gmail. This has already been confirmed by european courts, which tend to be very strict about such matters. And it's quite an embarrassing indicator for the competence of the "28 Privacy and Civil Liberties Organizations" cited in the title of this thread.

    fear of abuse of intellectual property
    Some people think that scanning their e-mail for the purpose of displaying matching ads violates their copyright. This is a very interesting way of looking at the issue. I don't think the legal protection goes quite that far, because there's no unauthorized copying or public display involved (it's called copyright for a reason). But intellectual property law can be very unintuitive sometimes, so we'll probably have to wait for the courts to decide on this one.

    fear of competing ads next to commercial e-mail
    One of the very few technically justified fears, even if it probably overestimates the precision of Googles targeting abilities. But then, none of your rights are violated by this. You just like it or you don't. Such is the nature of business. Note that if you're operating in a competitive market, an e-mail recipient on Yahoo is likely to see competing ads that pop up, flash, and do other intrusive things while they view your message. On Gmail, they will only see small and unobstrusive three-line text ads next to your detailed explanations about why you are the best. Which would you prefer?

    fear of sender profiling
    I'm not sure if it's in the official documentation yet, but Google representatives have confirmed time and again that no profiling information on e-mail senders will be stored whatsoever. Scanning and ad targeting is done on the fly, and the results are discarded immediately afterwards.

    Of course, that doesn't remove the theoretical possibility of profiling. And the respective fears aren't really reduced by the fact that every other e-mail service has exactly the same possibilities, and some are probably doing it without telling you. But it still seems silly to insist that Google is opening any kinds of floodgates here. It's not what they do.

    fear about data security
    J4mes has pointed this out very nicely: For most people, their e-mail is probably stored more securely on Gmail than it would be on their own computer, assuming they don't select a stupid password. The ultra geeks at Google are almost garanteed to secure their boxes better than you or me ever could.

    fear of subpoena
    In the US, after 180 days of storage, e-mail legally stops being e-mail and becomes a database record. This means that anyone can subpoena Google to divulge other peoples messages (most likely they could also subpoena you directly, couldn't they?).

    For one, I expect there are ways to counter a subpoena. It will only "force" Google to divulge anything if there is no counter claim filed in time. For the other, this is not a Gmail issue, it's the case with any other e-mail service, be it Hotmail, Yahoo, or your ISP. Why is Google now getting flak for something that purportedly should have been a serious problem elsewhere for years?

    In one of those threads, someone has argued: "I think this should be illegal". That's a very valid opinion, and probably one of the most thoughtful things someone objecting to Gmail could say. But as far as I can tell, none of the things they do really *is* illegal, and in my own opinion none of it is even remotely morally questionable. In those points where they actually differ from the competition, they simply offer a better service to their users.

    j4mes




    msg:1553547
     12:33 pm on Apr 28, 2004 (gmt 0)

    Bird, you have summed this up eloquently and in its entirety. Thank you.

    Leosghost




    msg:1553548
     1:30 pm on Apr 28, 2004 (gmt 0)

    BIRD

    With all due respect I don't feel that merely reiterating what has been previously posted but adding "bold" makes what you say true .....

    in particular beginning with ( admittedly this tidbit wasn't in bold )....
    <<There's a lot of opinion around on this topic, and a handful of facts.>>....

    Would have been more relevant surely to follow such an intro with some facts as opposed to more opinions..

    <<Gmail doesn't intrude on anything or anyone, so we can skip this point here.>>

    This one nearly left me speechless ....shame you didn't just stop at this single sentence of absolute nonsense and spare us the rest ....

    Which unfortunately ....for what is purporting to be list of the "facts"....
    ...has so many "almosts " "theoreticalies" and "I don't thinks" etc to be anything other than.....
    still more opinions!
    ..trying and failing ( except in the eyes of those who mistake "length of posts" for "quality of facts" )..to "smoke screen" the rest of us into silence so you can get at 1 gig of mail space ....

    BTW you can buy your own 1 gig of mail space ( elsewhere )for less than 1$ per month and no ads inserted in it ...are you all so cheap ....?

    finally as one who lives in Europe ( but in the main prefers the way the USA does business or at least allows one to run or start a small business ) ....on this one ( very rare for me )I'm glad that the EU can and probably will look at this "gift horse" ....

    Contrary to your posting they are still "out" on it at the moment........

    Now I'll put my "Money head" on.....

    From a simple marketing point of view ...

    I hope that as many of you as possible will take up Gmail ....and judging from the silence of those here who ( really )make their living from marketing via the net ..I am apparently not alone ...

    But the moment I put on my "citizen" hat ...I find you curiously like the "turkeys voting for Xmas"......
    The fact ( used in it's correct sense ) that M$ , AOL, and Yah** etc are like farmers with axes to cut into your privacy( to keep the simili for a moment )....surely isn't a reason to add another "G" farmer to the yard ...even if upto now he's mostly had a smiley face ....

    Oh and if anyone really thinks that what has been said by various "google" reps here and elswhere on the subject is coherent and encouraging you either dont read everthing that you think you do or have serious short term memory problems........

    I'm probably out of line in saying this but it seems that maybe it might be time to end the thread as it been more like "propaganda" than "reasoned" posting for a few pages now ... : )

    digitalv




    msg:1553549
     2:18 pm on Apr 28, 2004 (gmt 0)

    For the record, there have been plenty of reasonable points made which answer your question, in this thread and others.

    I have yet to see one. I've seen a heck of a lot of UNreasonable points made though.

    I have no wish to argue with a closed mind when mine is still open and waiting for the final pieces of the jigsaw

    If that's your opinion, why are you still posting at all? I've always hated the term "closed mind" because it's used incorrectly more than correctly and this is one of those cases. Having a difference of opinion does not make one person closed minded and the other person "open" minded, and you're a fool if you think it does. Are there any valid complaints that Google should address? MAYBE - I'm "open" minded enough to admit that, however I'm also pointing out that you and everyone else have yet to convince me of one. The issues you people are complaining about, in my opinion, are simply small-minded cry-baby anti-google / anti-competition issues. Grow up.

    BTW you can buy your own 1 gig of mail space ( elsewhere )for less than 1$ per month and no ads inserted in it ...are you all so cheap ....?

    The amount of storage Google is providing has nothing to do with my defending their rights. I have a number of my own servers and nearly a terrabyte of storage if I needed a larger mailbox. First, I LIKE the idea of AdWords being displayed in e-mail - as an end-user I like the opportunity to be presented with competing offers related to any e-mail I'm reading, I feel it will come in very handy. Second, I am also an AdWords advertiser and I like the fact that I'll be able to reach GMail users and not just people searching for my keywords.

    But my third, and most important point, is about freedom and rights. I made this post in another thread, but I'll say it again here ... I simply do not want the government to continue legislating and regulating the Internet because then it will be just like everything ELSE in this country that started as a good thing and the liberals and democrats F'd it up by trying to control it. If you all allow legislation in this area, you are giving the government the OK to make decisions FOR US instead of letting us make our own. I don't want that ... why do you?

    Aside from that, I didn't see why my question to Payback wasn't answered by any of you anti-Gmail people? It wasn't just for him, it's a public forum and anyone can comment. Aside from people whining about their e-mail being scanned for the purpose of targeted advertising - which I'll remind you is not illegal and SHOULDN'T BE - I have not seen one valid complaint that doesn't apply to EVERY OTHER MAIL PROVIDER OUT THERE, free or otherwise. I wil ask again:

    (1) How would a subpeona requiring Google to turn over everything they had on a client be any different than the same action against Hotmail, Yahoo, a person's ISP, their regular U.S. Postal mail, etc.? Seems the same to me - if a court orders you to turn over information, you turn it over. If you DON'T turn it over, you're breaking the law. So what difference does it make whether you turn it over yourself or someone else turns it over for you?

    (2) What makes you think the data will be available for 180 days after it's deleted anyway? And even if it was ... again it goes back to how is Google any different from any other mail provider?

    What could they possibly change other than NOT OFFERING THE SERVICE to eliminate themselves from this scenario? What you're asking doesn't seem realistic.

    Here's one more question for you (those of you who are AdWords advertisers, if there are any) - again, this is not MY reason for supporting Gmail I have made my reasons clear, but I am asking this of the rest of you.

    If GMail launched "as is" without any modification, and you as an AdWords advertiser saw a 10% increase in your sales due to the fact that your Ads were being displayed next to relevant e-mail messages of Gmail subscribers, would you still complain about Gmail? What if that increase was 20% or 30%? Think about it.

    I know every single one of you who has said you're anti-Gmail is ready post back saying "No, it won't change my opinion" so here is what I'm asking of you: I don't want ANYONE to answer this question. Don't say it would change your opinion, don't say it wouldn't ... I don't want to know and don't care what the answer is. I just want you to think about it and be honest with yourself on whether a 10% - 30% increase in your own sales as a direct result of GMail would change your mind about wanting to shut them down.

    Now take it a step further - let's say Gmail launches and runs for a year, you've benefited for an entire year from that 10% - 30% increase. Now lets say people want to start banning Gmail, not because they've done anything wrong but for all of the same reasons that have been posted here. Ask yourself whether you would fight for them or against them.

    Again, don't tell me your answer - just think about it and be honest with yourself. I can tell you that I support the launch of Gmail ANYWAY - whether I stand to benefit from it or not. But I have a feeling that a lot of people, even some of the ones who posted in this thread, would change their minds if they were directly profiting from its existence.

    BeeDeeDubbleU




    msg:1553550
     2:52 pm on Apr 28, 2004 (gmt 0)

    I'm tired :oO

    This thread has been running for toooo long now. It is obvious that we will never get agreement when people are as polarised in any argument. I personally don't like the idea of Google using advertising to finance their email system. To me it's just more proof of their selling out.

    I will however freely accept that all of you who want to use Gmail (did the thing about the UK company who claimed the name ever get settled?), may do so. Go ahead!

    Just remember that there's no such thing as a free lunch.

    This 201 message thread spans 7 pages: < < 201 ( 1 2 3 4 5 [6] 7 > >
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