14 yıl önce - Sal 09 Ksm 2004, 06:43
Google offers 1 gig of storage, which is many times the storage offered by Yahoo or Hotmail, or other Internet service providers that we know about. The powerful searching encourages account holders to never delete anything. It takes three clicks to put a message into the trash, and more effort to delete this message. It's much easier to "archive" the message, or just leave it in the inbox and let the powerful searching keep track of it. Google admits that even deleted messages will remain on their system, and may also be accessible internally at Google, for an indefinite period of time.
Google has been spinning their original position in press interviews, and with an informal page described as "a few words about privacy and Gmail." When we see fresh material from Google, we check the modification date at the bottom of the terms-of-use page and privacy page for Gmail. If these dates are still April 6 and April 8, we know that nothing has changed. Google can modify these pages too, any way they want and whenever they want, unilaterally. But at least these two pages carry slightly more legal weight than other pages, because Google should attempt to notify users of significant changes in these formal policies.
After 180 days in the U.S., email messages lose their Reklam_link as a protected communication under the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, and become just another database record. This means that a subpoena instead of a warrant is all that's needed to force Google to produce a copy. Other countries may even lack this basic protection, and Google's databases are distributed all over the world. Since the Patriot Act was passed, it's unclear whether this ECPA protection is worth much anymore in the U.S., or whether it even applies to email that originates from non-citizens in other countries.
Google's relationships with government officials in all of the dozens of countries where they operate are a mystery, because Google never makes any statements about this. But here's a clue: Google uses the term "governmental request" three times on their terms-of-use page and once on their privacy page. Google's language means that all Gmail account holders have consented to allow Google to show any and all email in their Gmail accounts to any official from any government whatsoever, even when the request is informal or extralegal, at Google's sole discretion. Why should we send email to Gmail accounts under such draconian conditions?
Problem 2: Google's policies do not apply
Problem 3: A massive potential for abuse
If Google builds a database of keywords associated with email addresses, the potential for abuse is staggering. Google could grow a database that spits out the email addresses of those who used those keywords. How about words such as "box cutters" in the same email as "airline schedules"? Can you think of anyone who might be interested in obtaining a list of email addresses for that particular combination? Or how about "mp3" with "download"? Since the RIAA has sent subpoenas to Internet service providers and universities in an effort to identify copyright abusers, why should we expect Gmail to be off-limits?
Intelligence agencies would love to play with this information. Diagrams that show social networks of people who are inclined toward certain thoughts could be generated. This is one form of "data mining," which is very lucrative now for high-tech firms, such as Google, that contract with federal agencies. Email addresses tied to keywords would be perfect for this. The fact that Google offers so much storage turns Gmail into something that is uniquely dangerous and creepy.
Problem 4: Inappropriate ad matching
We don't use Gmail, but it is safe to assume that the ad matching is no better in Gmail, than it is in news articles that use contextual ad feeds from Google. Here's a screen shot that shows an inappropriate placement of Google ads in a news article. We also read about a lawyer who is experimenting with Gmail. He sent himself a message, and discovered that the law practice footer he uses at the bottom of all of his email triggered an ad for a competing law firm.
Another example is seen in the Google ads at the bottom of this story about Brandon Mayfield. There are two ads. One mentions sexual assault charges (sex has nothing to do with the story), and the other is about anti-terrorism. The entire point of this article, as well as a New York Times piece on May 8, 2004, is that a lawyer has had his career ruined due to overreaction by the FBI, based on disputed evidence. He was arrested as a material witness and his home and office were searched. The NYT (page A12) says that "Mr. Mayfield was arrested before investigators had fully examined his phone records, before they knew if he had ever met with any of the bombing suspects, before they knew if he had ever traveled to Spain or elsewhere overseas. His relatives said he had not been out of the United States for 10 years." The only evidence is a single fingerprint on a plastic bag, and some FBI officials have raised questions about whether this print is a match. While Mr. Mayfield will get his day in court, it appears that Google's ads have already convicted him, and for good measure added some bogus sexual assault charges as well. Would Mr. Mayfield be well-advised to send email to Gmail account holders to plead his case?
Our last example shows three ads fed by Google at the bottom of a Washington Post column titled "Gmail leads way in making ads relevant." The columnist argues that Google's relevant ads improve the web, and therefore she finds nothing objectionable about Gmail. These Google-approved ads offer PageRank for sale, something which only a year ago, Google would have considered high treason. Yes, these ads are "relevant" -- the column is about Google, and the ads are about PageRank. But here's the point: A relevant ad that shows poor judgment is much worse than an irrelevant ad that shows poor judgment. The ads at the bottom of her column disprove her pro-Google arguments. She has no control over this, and is probably not even aware that it happened.
Most writers, even if they are only writing an email message instead of a column in a major newspaper, have more respect for their words than Google does. Don't expect these writers to answer their Gmail.