Gmail-is-too-creepy.com

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Creepy Gmail

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Google offers more storage for your email than other Internet service providers that we know about. The powerful searching encourages account holders to never delete anything. It's easier to just leave it in the inbox and let the powerful searching keep track of it. Google admits that deleted messages will remain on their system, and may be accessible internally at Google, for an indefinite period of time.

A new California law, the Online Privacy Protection Act, went into effect on July 1, 2004. Google changed their main privacy policy that same day because the previous version sidestepped important issues and might have been illegal. For the first time in Google's history, the language in their new policy made it clear that they will be pooling all the information they collect on you from all of their various services. Moreover, they may keep this information indefinitely, and give this information to whomever they wish. All that's required is for Google to "have a good faith belief that access, preservation or disclosure of such information is reasonably necessary to protect the rights, property or safety of Google, its users or the public." Google, you may recall, already believes that as a corporation they are utterly incapable of bad faith. Their corporate motto is "Don't be evil," and they even made sure that the Securities and Exchange Commission got this message in Google's IPO filing.

Google's policies are essentially no different than the policies of Microsoft, Yahoo, Alexa and Amazon. However, these others have been spelling out their nasty policies in detail for years now. By way of contrast, we've had email from indignant Google fans who defended Google by using the old privacy language — but while doing so they arrived at exactly the wrong interpretation of Google's actual position! Now those emails will stop, because Google's position is clear at last. It's amazing how a vague privacy policy, a minimalist browser interface, and an unconventional corporate culture have convinced so many that Google is different on issues that matter.

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