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Douglas Chick

I just don't know what the big deal is over Gmail? Many privacy advocacy groups are up in arms over Google's announcement that they are going to offer Gmail with 1 gig of space for free. European Privacy International alleges that the Gmail service will violate privacy laws in both Europe and other countries. To me the real threat is not to privacy, (although Internet security professional might tell you that there is no such thing as e-mail privacy anyways) but Gmail posses a tremendous threat is to Yahoo, MSN's Hotmail. 

What spurs the debate is this; Google said that its e-mail service would scan e-mails for keywords to use in sending Gmail users targeted advertisements. Google would also keep copies of e-mails even after their customers have deleted them. Why this would frighten anyone using free e-mail baffles me? I can tell you from as experienced network administrator that has monitored a lot of email--it's just not that interesting. All e-mail reads the same.

1. Jokes
2. Words of spiritual inspiration
3. More Jokes
4. Baby and cat pictures. (Actually they might just be ugly baby pictures)
5. And the use of the word "hey" more than any other English word in use...next to 'thanks'. 

reported State Sen. Liz Figueroa, a Democrat from the Bay Area city of Fremont, said Thursday that it should be illegal for a company to scan the text of its customers' e-mail correspondence and display relevant advertising--even if customers explicitly agree to the practice in exchange for a gigabyte of storage. "Telling people that their most intimate and private e-mail thoughts to doctors, friends, lovers and family members are just another direct-marketing commodity isn't the way to promote e-commerce," Figueroa said in a statement, which called Gmail customers' correspondence "a direct-marketing opportunity for Google."

Reading Sen, Liz Figueroa statement gives me a clearer insight into the mind of a California Democratic Senator. It also tells you a little something about why Arnold became Governor; California is desperate for intelligent leadership. I bothers me with government wants to pass laws to protect people from their own ability to make their own decisions. 

Why Google would want to keep people's babble mail is besides me, but if they are willing to give me 1 gig of free e-mail, just to get a chance at all of my deleted Spam, then I say they are more than welcome to it. But to tell Google that they cannot offer a free mail service because of privacy issue is simply outrageous. 

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Douglas Chick


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