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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

WebmasterWorld Senior Member pageoneresults us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 7 posted 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]

 

BeeDeeDubbleU

WebmasterWorld Senior Member beedeedubbleu us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 7 posted 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.

paybacksa

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 7 posted 3:23 pm on Apr 28, 2004 (gmt 0)

Digitalv:

(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.?

Gmail has said it will keep emails even if the user deleted them. With my ISP or Yahoo or whatever, if I delete and flush, then it is deleted. If I keep my inbox full beyond 180 days that is my error.

If Gmail has subsequently adjusted this, I am not aware.

paybacksa

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 7 posted 3:25 pm on Apr 28, 2004 (gmt 0)

4eyes:

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.

I have to disagree. From where I sit, digitalv has shown some positive changes in hir comments, suggesting (s)he is indeed benefiting from these discussions. I have also seen more factual and analytical posts from thread lurkers during this time period than prior to the digitalv debate.

Since it is a forum, I have to say I think this thread it is effective.

[edited by: paybacksa at 3:48 pm (utc) on April 28, 2004]

paybacksa

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 7 posted 3:47 pm on Apr 28, 2004 (gmt 0)

bird:

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?

I for one have been exposed to both sides of the legal game where subpoena may be used a tool for intimidation or dirt-finding, and legal actions appear to be tools of negotiation.

Yes, a subpoena could be brought against you or your company of your isp. It is no where near as dangerous as it would be with Gmail, and it is also not a privacy violation (which I believe Gmail would be).

First, since those ISPs actually delete emails when I say delete, there is less exposed. At work, I know it is "no expectation of privacy" so I don't do anything personal in that system. As for my own computer, I can physically prevent a search by not opening the door; relocatng my system; having two systems; I can clean my hard drive; etc etc etc. I will take responsibility for my own actions (I even have a fifth amendment at my disposal).

Second, those other avenues are not nearly as intimidating as a subpoena against a gmail behemoth. Remember it is not about actual utility -- it is about intimidation. My work computer exposes all of my work emails, and the replies from my work contacts. Not very much. A subpoena on gmail would likely expose a far larger network of people with whom I have communicated, and perhaps with whom they have communcated about me/my topic.

In security there is something called a "honeypot". It is a fake server which looks like an important "Fort Knox" style system. It is there simply to attract whatever hackers have entered the network. It is also usually heavily monitored, as an early warning system for intrusion detection.

As described previously, Gmail would become a honeypot for personal information, ripe for attack by just about everyone (marketers, legals, gov't, etc.) Can G defend against that? is it reasonable to expect G to successfully defend against such potential subpoenas, attacks, etc?

What did JetBlue do when asked for personal info on passengers by a defense contractor? No subpoena, not even a government agency (just a contractor -- a private, for profit company)? They had a privacy policy that promised they would not give passenger data to anyone. Well, it appears they handed it over without telling their customers. Apparently so did serveral other airlines. If you want to say that was for national security, then why did it go not to the CIA/FBI but to Axciom (another private company, in the data aggregation business)? What did Axciom do with that data? Cleasrly Axciom has billions of dollars invested in their ability to aggregate such data and sell it elsewhere. Did you trust Jetblue based on their privacy policy? Did you know you were trusting Axciom as well?

What did AOL do when asked by a midlevel officer of the armed forces to identify a user who had been emailing on a sensitive topic (I believe it was homosexuality)? As I recall reading, they handed over the info -- only to tighten their policies later when it became a public privacy issue.

Whether or not you want to trust G is up to you. Gmail's invasion of personal privacy should be limited to your agreement.

I don't care if G inserts ads in emails as they pass through the mail transfer system. G has said it intends to do more with your emails, saving them indefinitely, potentially aggregating the info "in order to further personalize the search experience" or something like that, etc etc etc.

digitalv

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 7 posted 4:33 pm on Apr 28, 2004 (gmt 0)

Payback,

Thanks again for the detailed response. Maybe a new thread should be started? It seems as though there are multiple arguments going on here, and I'll be the first to admit I'm having a hard time covering them all. So far I have to say that your point is the first one I give any credit to - it seems everything else people are bickering about is really more of a "shut up and deal with it" type of thing.

I'd like to point out another possibility for you though. It seems to me that what's happening here with regard to the long-term storage after deletion isn't something that is NEW or malicious or anything like that, but rather Google may very well be the first company that has FULLY EXPLAINED how backups of a large public e-mail system work. The truth is, they're not doing anything different than anyone else - they're just stating it specifically whereas other companies don't. I also want to point out I don't think the other companies are hiding the information intentionally, I just think that Google was trying to be totally honest about everything and cover all bases and possibilities.

At my office, I keep the last 90 days worth of data in my backups. Those backups are encrypted and stored off-site using a remote backup service that I pay monthly for. If I delete a message today, it's "gone", yet it still exists off-site within those backups. The only way you will ever see it again is if a crash occurs the same day you deleted the mail and I restore the previous day's backup. Payback, since you have some knowledge in this area (no, this isn't a smartass question - I don't know the answer) how would a subpoena affect me? Lets say that for some reason disclosure of my data was required, does that include my off-site backups that are up to 90 days old?

Even though your ISP has deleted the message the minute you say they do, it DOES still exist in a backup somewhere. A friend of mine works for a large ISP in Florida who archives their data FOREVER on an optical device of some sort - looks kinda like a Laserdisc. This happens daily. I mean we're talking about router logs, Caller-ID to IP logs, mail server, web server, databases, customer billing information, EVERYTHING that has ever gone through their network. Supposedly the data is encrypted, but even if it wasn't that's not really the issue when you're talking about subpoenas. I'll also add that this data is never looked at by human eyes, it's an entirely automated process. They keep it for two reasons: (1) If there was ever a fire, break-in, or other physical problem at their office they could be back up and running as soon as necessary hardware replacements were made, and (2) If their network was ever a victim of or used in the commission of a crime they'll have everything they ever needed to help the investigator identify the guilty parties.

Anyway here's my point ... ALL backups work this way, whether the data is on-site or off-site. It's this way with Yahoo, Hotmail, your ISP, whatever. I just think that Google is the first to fully EXPLAIN to people, that yes, somewhere, your data still exists even though you've deleted it from whatever primary system it may exist on. It's nothing exclusive to their system, it's just "the way it is" with backups. From my perspective, it looks like Google was trying to be as honest as possible and is taking heat for it. If they never came out and said that would people have even thought to complain about it?

The question is HOW LONG does Google keep their backed-up data and is that data retrievable on a per-user basis? Until we have that question answered (and if it has been answered and I missed it, please someone fill me in) there really isn't much of an argument to pursue here.

As for trusting a company not to give out your details even after they promise not to, well ... there isn't much that can be done about that, and as you said, it's also not a "Google only" issue. That could happen anywhere - it's a risk you take when you give someone personally identifiable information. I don't see that Google will be doing anything differently than all of the other free e-mail services out there.

4eyes

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 7 posted 11:06 pm on Apr 28, 2004 (gmt 0)

digitalv

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

And where did I say that this was the reason? Surely only a fool would make that illogical leap. Putting words into someones mouth to give yourself something easier to argue with is somewhat of a simplistic and transparent debating technique - schoolboy debating society stuff - not needed here.

I can see both sides of the argument, so can Google. Thats why the finished product will seek to address some of the issues raised - either by changes or by further clarification. In case you are confused, it is possible to see both sides of an argument and still have an opinion yourself.

If you really can't see that the 'other side' have some valid concerns, well, then it seems that 'closed mind' is rather appropriate. FWIW I am using the phrase 'closed mind' in its normal usage, being 'unreceptive to new ideas'.

Once again, I have no need to answer your questions, I was not arguing with the points you made, merely expressing my disdain for such strongly worded opinions about a product that has not yet been released in its completed form. However, as paybacksa seems to have confidence that you can 'get' things sometimes....

You don't like spam, right?

Well, as it stands at the moment, Gmail is just a form of opt-in spam - albeit with the slight difference that it might also insert spam into e-mails that I send to gmail users.

If it were released in its current form I would not sign up for it and would filter all gmail out at the server level. Thats my right. I wouldn't seek to have it banned, that seems a little extreme, but I filter spam - and gmail is spam, just a new flavour.

But right now thats not an issue, it hasn't been released in its finished form yet. Until it is I will keep an open mind, collate the data, and try to understand the 'pro' and 'anti' arguments without launching emotional rants at either party - care to join me, or do you feel like another rant?

paybacksa

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 7 posted 2:52 am on Apr 29, 2004 (gmt 0)

Nice to see the thread has remained civil though the discovery phases :-) After death and taxes, a sure thing is that there is always plenty to learn from each other.

Regarding backups stored at ISPs and the like. I don't accept that backups are always done the way described, although I grant that they are perhaps often done that way. As an IT exec I made sure the mail was separate and distinct from the corporate files, and carefully managed. The importance of careful management of email archives was emphasized by the Microsoft antitrust case, where gigs of microsoft emails becamse public domain following subpoenas for email records. Smart companies do NOT backup as digitalv described, and IMHO smart ISPs do NOT let it be known if they keep comprehensive archives.

If an ISP is saving everything as digitalv described, I consider it improper, and it should be in the notice of privacy practices.

I have experience with some of the major ISPs, and can tell you that they never seem to be able to find anything when served with a request. Backups are lost, unretrievable, not cataloged, etc etc etc... every excuse under the sun but no records. And since they are not required to have saved the stuff, and don't publically state that they do save the stuff, there is little a lawyer can do when a subpoena doesn't result in a handover of the data.

Unfortunately a large portion of what is done at the systems admin level in corporations is done incorrectly, and creates opportunities for privacy invasion. Thats a natural consequence of poor performance, but not sufficient to enable privacy invasion -- because of the laws.

digitalv

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 7 posted 3:04 am on Apr 29, 2004 (gmt 0)

Paybacksa,

The ISP my friend worked for made no statements about whether they kept their data or not, this was information that was really only available to the administrative and technical staff. When customers accidentally deleted crap and asked if it could be restored from a backup they were told no... I suppose this could be because it's too much of a pain in the @$$ to go and retrieve data from an un-networked optical disc for a single user on a $10 a month dial-up account, but it could also be because they didn't want customers knowing there was a backup at all. I'll have to ask what the reason was.

It wouldn't surprise me if more ISP's did this than people think. Especially web hosting companies, since by law web hosts are responsible for the content on their servers - if anything came down that caused them to be fined they would want to have as much proof as they can as to who put it there.

ThatAdamGuy

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 7 posted 7:07 am on Apr 29, 2004 (gmt 0)

Well, as it stands at the moment, Gmail is just a form of opt-in spam - albeit with the slight difference that it might also insert spam into e-mails that I send to gmail users.

I'd like to offer an important clarification here:

Gmail does not insert ads into incoming e-mail, nor does it put ads or tags into outgoing e-mail. It occasionally does display ads NEXT to incoming e-mail, just like Eudora (free client) displays ads underneath e-mail, or Hotmail or Yahoo displays ads next to e-mail, and so on.

Gmail is to spamming as a fish is to bicycling. That is to say, there is no relation :).

I also thought this snippet from one of Gmail's "about" pages might be instructive:

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. 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. However, Google will make reasonable efforts to remove deleted information from our systems as quickly as is practical.

bird

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 7 posted 10:47 am on Apr 29, 2004 (gmt 0)

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!

Um, so you're accusing me of differentiating between opinion and facts?
I just thought it would be good style to do so... ;)

<<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 ....

I didn't think this would need an explanation, but here it is:
In the context of privacy legislation, the word "intrusion" is used in a very specific way. Intrusion is when someone enters your private space (eg. reads/processes your mailbox) without authorisation. The misunderstanding probably comes from the fact that when you send a message to someone, then the transmitted copy of that message leaves your private space, and enters the private space of the recipient. Since the recipient has authorized Google to process his mailbox, no intrusion is taking place by them doing so.

I have experience with some of the major ISPs, and can tell you that they never seem to be able to find anything when served with a request. Backups are lost, unretrievable, not cataloged, etc etc etc... every excuse under the sun but no records. And since they are not required to have saved the stuff, and don't publically state that they do save the stuff, there is little a lawyer can do when a subpoena doesn't result in a handover of the data.

Even with Googles exceptionally honest statement about backups, what will keep them from using the same argument to fend off subpoenas? "Sorry, for technical reasons we can't retreive messages of individual users from our tapes, they can only be used to restore the complete system to a previous state in case of disaster". The Googlites are masters at keeping things secret, shouldn't we expect them to have thought of that before implementing the system?

digitalv

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 7 posted 2:24 pm on Apr 29, 2004 (gmt 0)

Let me put another spin on this issue ... I sure am pissing off a lot of anti-gmail people, but oh well :p

As the owner of a company, if my employees are using my company-owned mail server to conduct personal business over e-mail do they even HAVE any right to privacy? Nope. I can open any employee's mailbox any time I feel like it and read whatever I want, business or personal. It's my hardware, my network, I am letting them use it. They have no "right" to privacy on my network. Nor does anyone who e-mails them at their work e-mail address - if you send something to my employee, as the owner of the server I have the right to look at it. I don't have to disclose it, I don't have to tell an employee that I am doing it, I don't even have to tell them I have the right to do it.

Ethically, of course, I don't read my employee's e-mail ... I could care less. But I could if I wanted to, and it would be legal for me to do so.

So ... how is it any different for Google? Isn't it really just the same thing on a larger scale? Google owns the network, hardware, etc. It's theirs. Even though they may choose to allow "the public" to create an account, it is not PUBLIC PROPERTY it is their private property. You're using their network with their permission on THEIR terms, not yours. My employees don't dictate what is and isn't allowed on company e-mail, *I DO*.

And please, no comparisons to real estate like "Well if you rent a house you don't have the right to walk in and look through your tenants stuff" because that's a different issue entirely, and I know at least one person is waiting to use that analogy. It doesn't apply - I *DO* have the right to go through my employee's company-assigned mailbox and real estate laws do not apply. Just putting that out in advance.

bird

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 7 posted 4:12 pm on Apr 29, 2004 (gmt 0)

As the owner of a company, if my employees are using my company-owned mail server to conduct personal business over e-mail do they even HAVE any right to privacy? Nope.

Depends on where you live, and what kind of data protection/privacy agreement you had the employees sign in their hiring contracts. At least in Europe, you might get into rather hot wather reading your employees private e-mail, even if it runs through your servers (all that nonwithstanding the difficulties to decide before looking which messages are private and which aren't).

But this seems completely irrelevant to this thread. Neither the Gmail users nor the people sending them messages are employed by Google. The contractual agreements between the participants and the legal basis they are founded on are entirely different in each case.

And please, no comparisons to real estate like "Well if you rent a house you don't have the right to walk in and look through your tenants stuff" because that's a different issue entirely

This is indeed a bad analogy as well, even though I think the similarity is quite a bit closer than with an employer/employee relationship.

digitalv

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 7 posted 4:42 pm on Apr 29, 2004 (gmt 0)

bird,

Isn't that kind of a catch-22 in Europe then? On one hand you are responsible and liable for the content on your servers, but you're not allowed to monitor what goes in and out of it? If illegal material was stored on your server, it's your responsibility - your server could be confiscated and there wouldn't be anything you could do about it except wait until they give it back. And you're saying you're not allowed to watch it to make sure that doesn't happen due to privacy rights? That's pretty messed up. I'm glad I live in the USA :P

Anyway we're getting off topic ... IN the USA (where what I said is true and where Google is based), how are my two scenarios different?

4eyes

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 7 posted 12:09 am on May 2, 2004 (gmt 0)

Gmail is to spamming as a fish is to bicycling. That is to say, there is no relation

Totally disagree, but you are welcome to your opinion.

Personally I have no need for another webmail account - I only use the ones I have got for sign-ups that I know will generate spam.

I will keep an open mind until the product launches in its final form, but as it stands it just looks like you are opting-in to a advertising stream in exchange for a chunk of diskspace and a few features that are available elsewhere.

It will be interesting to see what games the mega-spammers can come up with in order to fill your mail box with their clients adverts.

bird

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 7 posted 12:01 pm on May 2, 2004 (gmt 0)

bird,

Isn't that kind of a catch-22 in Europe then? On one hand you are responsible and liable for the content on your servers, but you're not allowed to monitor what goes in and out of it?

European legislation has a good tradition of establishing sensible checks and balances around those topics. You're expected to maintain reasonable security on your system, but nobody asks you to be omniscient. In the case of private e-mail on corporate networks, the corporation basically gets the same rights and duties as a telco company.

IN the USA (where what I said is true and where Google is based), how are my two scenarios different?

In that case, it all depends on the contract between the involved parties.
If the law doesn't protect private e-mail in a corporate environment, then it's indeed unprotected until an employment contract introduces a protective clause.

In the case of Gmail, the TOS are the contract, and Google is bound to the terms they have established in there. In fact, while an employing corporation might have an interest in controlling e-mail as tightly as possible, Google has a vital interest in *not* snooping in your e-mail. This is so, because even in the USA, in many situations you're only liable for activities you can be reasonably expected to know about. Ignorance can be bliss, even in court.

ThatAdamGuy

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 7 posted 7:44 pm on May 2, 2004 (gmt 0)

It will be interesting to see what games the mega-spammers can come up with in order to fill your mail box with their clients adverts.

I'm a bit confused about what you're trying to get at here.

Are you saying that Gmail is more susceptible to receiving mail from spammers than AOL, Hotmail, etc.? If so, I see no foundation for this charge.

Or are you suggesting that folks can intentionally target Gmail correspondence for specific AdWords ads (which are displayed on the righthand side, not in incoming our outgoing mails)?

If the latter, I'd say... good luck! My friends and I have done extensive tests back and forth, trying to trigger ads... even ads that we've personally *BOUGHT* for ourselves or our clients, and for the most part, it's been fruitless. Gmail understandably sees -- and disregards -- blatant keyword spammy mail, refusing to show ads for it ("Hey Mike, don't you love Widgets? I wish I knew where I could buy great widgets that are better than the widgets I saw at the store yesterday..." -- no ads).

For this and many other reasons, I think it'd be an extremely hard task to somehow try to pinpoint ads for Gmail customers, especially given that Gmail is just one part of Google's content network.

To give another example... I actually bought an AdWord *ON MY OWN (unique) NAME*. I wasn't able to trigger ads for it in Gmail, period.

So your idea of cunning Gmail ad "spam" (which is the wrong name for it, anyway) is, IMHO, not based upon reality.

Or did I misunderstand your concern in this context?

digitalv

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 7 posted 3:16 am on May 3, 2004 (gmt 0)

ThatAdamGuy,

GMail is also still in BETA, which means that some aspects may not be functioning properly or at all. Since I'm not a beta user (would like to be though if anyone wants to give me an invite) I can't really say, but maybe they're only showing advertisements from a few SELECT AdWords users right now? Click-less impressions hurt in AdWords, they may be deliberately not showing a lot of them.

Whether that's the case or not, eventually someone WILL figure out how to get their own advertisement to display and in such a case we may see a new breed of spam which even I'll admit will be dangerous...

People will start spamming their competitors.

Think about it ... get an AdWords account to sell your widgets and bid high enough to keep your ad at or near the top. Then get a "bullet proof" mail server overseas (or just relay off of some poor schmoe) and send out millions of targeted spam messages to GMail users advertising either a competitor's website or a dead link. When a user gets the message, they'll see YOUR advertisement. No one could ever prove what you were doing, the messages could not be traced to you. And best of all your competitors will get black-listed for spamming :P

ThatAdamGuy

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 7 posted 3:52 am on May 3, 2004 (gmt 0)

Since I'm not a beta user (would like to be though if anyone wants to give me an invite)

Alas, I can't help in this regard. I received a whopping two invites to give out to others, and as you can guess they went pretty fast :¦

I can't really say, but maybe they're only showing advertisements from a few SELECT AdWords users right now? Click-less impressions hurt in AdWords, they may be deliberately not showing a lot of them.

My understanding is that they're not throttling AdWords showing at all. Additionally, it's very important to realize that AdWords clients are *NOT* required to have minimum click-thru ratios on content sites (including Gmail), which means that they're not punished if they get lots of impressions and few click-thrus there.

Whether that's the case or not, eventually someone WILL figure out how to get their own advertisement to display and in such a case we may see a new breed of spam which even I'll admit will be dangerous...

Very doubtful. I've gone into details above as to why, but I'll expand briefly:

1) Google already filters for spam. The spam filters aren't great yet, but they're getting better all the time. Messages marked as spam by Google don't get ads next to them.

2) Sensitive e-mails also do not get ads next to them and Google only serves family-friendly ads to content sites. So no matter how many times you write about your, ahem, dysfunction, you will not see viagra ads. Period.

Think about it ... get an AdWords account to sell your widgets and bid high enough to keep your ad at or near the top. Then get a "bullet proof" mail server overseas (or just relay off of some poor schmoe) and send out millions of targeted spam messages to GMail users advertising either a competitor's website or a dead link. When a user gets the message, they'll see YOUR advertisement.

You're pairing unrelated events.

1) If the millions of 'targeted' spam messages contain similar keywords, Google will easily catch them and mark them as spam ("Gee, our servers suddenly got 439,291 e-mails all with the same keywords... something's fishy)

2) If spammers use the typical tricks to evade filters (l i k e t h i s, or l<faketag>ike thi<anotherfaketag>s), then the AdWords won't be triggered (or did you think the AdWords staff -- which manually reviews *EVERY* keyword submitted, will accept wid*et or w i d g e t? :D)

No one could ever prove what you were doing, the messages could not be traced to you. And best of all your competitors will get black-listed for spamming :P

Not a chance. If that were the case, then, say, Amazon.com would be blacklisted from the entire Internet simply because someone sent out spam with lots of Amazon.com links in it. Blacklisting doesn't work that way.

So, no disrespect, Digitalv, I don't believe that the concerns you've outlined are anything one should realistically fear.

Now, on the other hand, will people simply try to spam-bomb Gmail accounts? (aaaaaab@gmail.com, aaaaba@gmail.com, aaabaa@gmail.com) Absolutely. Will this be challenging to deflect without hampering the receipt of 'real' mail? Definitely! Will there be an arms race with spammers and the Gmail team? Sadly, I know there will be, just like spammers are constantly trying to break into Yahoo! Mail and Hotmail and AOL and any other popular service.

But, IMHO, this has absolutely, positively nothing to do with AdWords or AdSense or AdAnything. It's simply the basic misery of spam, and the challenges inherent in stemming the flow without creating false positives.

Now *THAT* is something that I am waiting for the final product before I make a verdict ;)

digitalv

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 7 posted 4:32 am on May 3, 2004 (gmt 0)

Good to know it's something we won't have to worry about then :)

The only thing I have to disagree with is the spammer black-list thing - it DOES work the way I said. The spammer lists are run by people who shoot first and ask questions later - if a spam e-mail is advertising a site, even if the message did not originate from that site's own mail server, the site WILL be black listed by ORDB and other large RBL's. When you try to contact the RBL's and get your site removed from the list they find it VERY hard to believe that you weren't the person who sent out the SPAM.

It happens more than you think - people have gotten pissed off at a company for one reason or another and sent out a bunch of spam messages ADVERTISING that company's website for the sole purpose of getting that company black-listed for being spammers. This happened to a friend of mine who runs a local computer store (who at the time had a website but didn't even sell products online) - I know for a fact the guy wasn't a spammer and neither were any of his employees. But one day he got black-listed and accused of being a spammer because a bunch of e-mails went out spamvertising his site. When he contacted MAPS (maps.vix.com was the black-listing "authority" back then) they basically told him that yeah that could have happened but they have no way to verify whether he was the victim or the spammer pretending to be the victim, so "better safe than sorry". It took more than one letter from a lawyer (and more than 2 months) to get them to remove his IP addresses from the list.

But anyway ... good to know that Google has counter-measures in place to prevent stuff like that from actually benefiting people :)

ThatAdamGuy

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 7 posted 5:18 am on May 3, 2004 (gmt 0)

Well, we sort of agree ;)

I know that many spamjerks try to implicate others. And in fact, I've PERSONALLY had one of my sites suspended when some!#&@* forged headers to look like the mail was coming from one of my domains! (reply-to: mydomain, + from: mydomain). Charmingly, not only did my hosting account get suspended (causing me to lose lots of legitimate mail which my host blackholed), but in the interim, I got tons of bouncebacks *AND* dozens of scathingly angry mails, with words I cannot repeat here :(.

However, I stand by my assertion that it's unlikely for even the frustratingly shoot-first-ask/deny-later blacklist services to blacklist a site based primarily upon the e-mail content. My experience -- and my understanding -- instead suggests that the spammers implicate others by forging headers, not by making the content look like it comes from the competitors.

Lastly, though I think I have a pretty good understanding of a lot of Google stuff and Gmail stuff (as do, obviously, many others here!), I want to humbly reiterate that my commentary and hypotheses should nonetheless not be taken as absolute fact unless otherwise specified :D. My friends at Google occasionally treat me to free lunches (yum!) but we do not talk about Google internal stuff, and I get no inside info out of 'em. In other words... everything I know about Gmail, I know from my own testing and from what I read.

mep00

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 7 posted 11:19 am on May 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

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.
If that's the line I choose (don't foget, there are many email providers), then what's wrong with it?


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.
Very well put. In many states, only one party needs to concent for a recording to be admissable in court. Since that isn't a Fifth Admendment violation, it stands to reason that gmail isn't a privacy violation.


fear of competing ads next to commercial e-mail
Kind of like sitting in a waitting room listening to the radio the have on and an ad for a competitor is played. Maybe they should sue the radio station?


Gmail is just a form of opt-in spam
Once you opt-in it is no longer spam.


"Well if you rent a house you don't have the right to walk in and look through your tenants stuff" because that's a different issue entirely,
It's noteworthy why it is different. When you rent, your paying makes you the psudo-owner. But even with renting, under certian conditions the owner is allowed to violate the tenents privacy.
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