Gmail watch watch

Daniel Brandt, netkook extraordinaire, has a new web site up, this one for the purpose of posting conspiracy theories about Gmail. In a stunning display of creativity, he registered gmail-is-too-creepy.com for it (personally, I think gmail-is-teh-suck.com would have been better). He continues his old theme of classic anti-Google hysteria, this time focusing on OMG GOOGLE IS READING MY E-MAIL!!1!

Of course it’s good to be concerned about privacy, especially these days, but once again he’s totally misguided and letting his paranoia get in the way of any rational thought. Not to mention that most of the anti-Gmail arguments have already been thoroughly debunked. Gmail bashing is so last month.

Hint: What Google is doing with your mail is fundamentally no different from what every ISP on the planet already does.

Hint: E-mail is not now, nor was it ever intended to be, a secure communication medium. That’s why Jesus invented encryption. If you want your mail to be secure, use GPG. That’s what it’s here for.

Comments

kscaldef says:

Let’s be fair, most ISPs are not, so far as I know, targeting ads at you based on your email. They are scanning it for spam filters, but that is a bit different.

kchrist says:

Let’s be fair, most ISPs are not, so far as I know, targeting ads at you based on your email.

True. Advertising is generally distasteful to a lot of people, which is understandable. These people are free to not use Gmail. You or I, the people sending mail to Gmail mailboxes as opposed to using the service ourselves, never see these ads, so our opinion on them is utterly irrelevant.

They are scanning it for spam filters, but that is a bit different.

But it isn’t. A machine reading your mail for the purpose of spam filtering is exactly the same as a machine reading your mail for the purpose of ad placement. In both cases, it’s something the owner of the e-mail account feels is a reasonable trade-off for the benefits they receive from it. You get spam-free e-mail (or as close as you can get, anyway), Gmail users get a ton of disk space, searching, a nice webmail interface, and everything else Google is offering them.