Scary Google "Terms" ?

Discussion in 'Gmail' started by foggy, Oct 24, 2010.

  1. foggy

    foggy Valued Member

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    Hi,

    I thought I'd ask whether a Gmail user should be concerned about the whole privacy/terms situation. I'm not talking so much about the scanning of mails by computers for ad purposes, nor about their vague, "whenever we get around to it, we'll delete it" data-retention policy. Rather, I'm thinking of their terms, specifically:

    located here.

    I don't know of any other email company that retains the right to take content that users have "submitted," "posted," or "displayed" (slippery terminology that could apply to email transmission :confused:) and publicly display, perform, distribute it !! Imagine if the Postal Service said, "Any postcard you send in the mail may be yours, but by using our service you grant us permission to take any of its content and use it for our own purposes, including displaying it for the world to see, if we wish. :rolleyes:

    Now, I used to have a Google Apps account (and my mom has a Gmail account that I set up for her). I'm not a "Gmail is evil" conspiracy theorist. I'm just curious about where we should place Gmail on the fear continuum. Should we be paranoid about just what such a megacompany can/would/will do with all the information we're handing them in our emails (and in the emails people send to Gmail users !), or is Gmail (as some have said) really no different than any other provider in this regard ?

    Thanks ! :)
     


  2. popowich

    popowich EQ Forum Admin Staff Member

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    I'm not a lawyer and can't give expert legal advice.

    That said is the intent of the policy there to allow Google to send your email and attachments to other Google services such as Google Docs?

    I am generally not concerned with the current state of Google.

    The biggest concern that I can think of is what happens if Google spins off or sells part of their company or database to another company in the future? It would be bad for Google if they ever started acting like Facebook (not likely), but what happens if they sell off part of their services to a company like Facebook that has no problem selling your information (more plausible)?

    People with concerns about hosting their data with a 3rd party (whether it be a web site, email account, file storage, etc) have the option to purchase a dedicated server and domain name for their services. I understand the cost and support requirements make a dedicated server not a reasonable solution for the average home user with privacy concerns.
     

  3. foggy

    foggy Valued Member

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    Thanks for the feedback ! :)
     
  4. popowich

    popowich EQ Forum Admin Staff Member

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    I came across this article and thought of your question from the weekend.

    They seem to agree that we all like to forgive Google for the occasional incident since they try to be open and honest about it while everyone knows that Facebook is out to profit as much as possible regardless f how much they are invading your privacy and selling data about you.
     
  5. popowich

    popowich EQ Forum Admin Staff Member

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    Google rarely contacts Gmail users via email, but we are making an exception to let you know that we've reached a settlement in a lawsuit regarding Google Buzz (http://buzz.google.com), a service we launched within Gmail in February of this year.

    Shortly after its launch, we heard from a number of people who were concerned about privacy. In addition, we were sued by a group of Buzz users and recently reached a settlement in this case.

    The settlement acknowledges that we quickly changed the service to address users' concerns. In addition, Google has committed $8.5 million to an independent fund, most of which will support organizations promoting privacy education and policy on the web. We will also do more to educate people about privacy controls specific to Buzz. The more people know about privacy online, the better their online experience will be.

    Just to be clear, this is not a settlement in which people who use Gmail can file to receive compensation. Everyone in the U.S. who uses Gmail is included in the settlement, unless you personally decide to opt out before December 6, 2010. The Court will consider final approval of the agreement on January 31, 2011. This email is a summary of the settlement, and more detailed information and instructions approved by the court, including instructions about how to opt out, object, or comment, are available at http://www.BuzzClassAction.com.

    --------------------------------------------------------------------
    This mandatory announcement was sent to all Gmail users in the United States as part of a legal settlement and was authorized by the United States District Court for the Northern District of California.

    Google Inc. | 1600 Amphitheatre Parkway | Mountain View, CA 94043
     
  6. foggy

    foggy Valued Member

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    Yeah, I got that in my GA inbox.

    It still amuses me that Google keeps touting itself as being so concerned about users' privacy and yet it always has to be pushed back after overstepping lines. Only outcries will bring Google spokespeople out to announce publicly how much they are going to change something because they want to show respect for users' privacy and security. :rolleyes:
     

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