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GMail doesn't fit in the European regulations for Data privacy
Well, I suspect one of 2 things would happen...
1. Signup from a European IP would be blocked
2. A Euro-Gmail would be made w/o contextual ads presented
I hope for number 2 so I can sign up for the Euro model. Euro model not allow a US IP you say? Well, like any smart European would to get Gmail US, I'll proxy my way in!
So whom do you believe - the greedy IPO vultures at Forbes, who gleefully named Larry and Sergey billionaires, or the EFF people?
By the way, I encourage everyone to join the EFF. I'm a member, with the T-shirt and hat to prove it. :)
With regards to the page you referenced, GG, I don't agree with all of it. In particularly, I am always concerned when I see advocacy groups insisting the companies should promise to "never" do this and "never" do that. Personally, I think -- for the benefit of consumers and its own bottom line -- Google should reserve the right to correlate Gmail targeting with search requests and so on with a user's explicit and unambiguous permission.
Which leads to the next point... and one in which I wholeheartedly agree with the CDT:
Google should also agree to notify users by email of any changes to its GMail policy rather than merely posting the changes to the login page.
I understand that Google may not want to overwhelm or annoy users with little changes (a new comma there, a capitalization of a word here), but this could be solved by making the scope of the changes easily apparent in the subject line:
"Gmail policy change (minor): Clarification of ad delivery"
"Gmail policy change (MAJOR): New terms prohibiting sharing of account"
GG, I'll be making this suggestion to the Gmail team via the feedback mechanism, but I'd be especially pleased if you'd communicate personally to them how important this is from a PR and a "not evil" perspective.
Hmm... and for that matter, if you have a chance, please do make sure the Gmail folks know about the new Gmail forum on WW. Sure, there are some heated not-very-substantive conversations, but I do think they could still gain a lot from at least skimming the threads.
> "Google has also pointed out that residual copies of email
> may remain on its systems, even after the user has deleted
> them from his or her mailbox and even after a user has
> terminated the account. Again, this is true of all email
> systems, but highlights the limitations of ECPA in the
> area of third party storage."
The issue is not whether residual copies exist after deletion, but whether residual copies are accessible by anybody or anything after deletion or termination of the account. Earthlink has a 24-hour archive policy after deletion or termination, afterwhich the data is completely and utterly unrecoverable. I suspect that Yahoo email and Hotmail have some sort of retention policy too, if only because they aren't prepared to offer hardly even a fraction of the disk space that Gmail offers.
All email systems are not as scary as what Google appears to be proposing with Gmail.
Part of my confusion, though, incidentally highlights one of the problems with Google/Gmail having so many documents!
- Program Policies
- All the help documentation
Anyway, one argument against relying upon a notice-on-login: So far, Gmail doesn't seem to have any built-in timeout (bad for people in public terminals who forget to click LOG OUT, but good for the rest of us... much more convenient than AdWords/Orkut/etc. :D). This means that those of us running stable Win XP/2000 systems -- who often leave our machines on for days at a time -- are likely not to see a Terms/Policy/Privacy update until at least several days after it's been issued.
Perhaps an e-mail is too much clutter, especially for minor changes. But Gmail would be well-served with a persistent 'alert' line or box in which both system messages (errors, notifications, etc.) would be written in, along with policy updates. And I'd like that alert box within the main interface itself, not on the login page... especially since many of us -- eager to check our mail -- are apt to quickly skim or skip by any alerts before logging in :D
Although we may attempt to notify you via your Gmail address when major changes are made, you should visit this page periodically to review the terms. Google may, in its sole discretion, modify or revise these terms and conditions and policies at any time, and you agree to be bound by such modifications or revisions.