Google is watching you

(Guardian) Once it was a plucky upstart, but now the multi-billion-dollar firm is charged with invading our privacy. 'Google's Email raises Privacy Fears,' declared the Indian Express, a headline echoed around this world after the company announced it is to offer a free email service called Gmail. On a technological level, Gmail (which will start as a pilot project) is far superior to similar services currently offered by the likes of Yahoo and Microsoft. The initial analysis was that Google had continued its tradition of besting the competition. And then people read the small print. There, the company revealed it would be employing technology that would search through the contents of its users' emails, thereby enabling it to place related adverts alongside those emails. If, for example, a user mentioned DVDs in the text of his or her email, then Google could attach an advert for a company selling cut-price DVDs. see also: Privacy International files complaint about Google's Gmail service (PI). Privacy International has filed a complaint asking the privacy and data protection commissions in France,Germany, the Netherlands, Greece, Italy, Spain, Czech Republic, Belgium, Denmark, Sweden, Ireland, Portugal, Poland, Austria,Australia and Canada along with the European Commission and the EU Commissioners internal Article 29 Data Protection Working Group to investigate the serious privacy problems that Google's Gmail service poses. US - Gmail under attack in California (CNET by Declan McCullagh. Blasting Gmail as a horrific intrusion into Internet users' privacy, a California state senator has introduced legislation to block Google's free email service. State Senator Liz Figueroa, a Democrat, said that it should be illegal for a company to scan the text of its customers' email correspondence and display relevant advertising - even if customers explicitly agree to the practice in exchange for a gigabyte of storage. The Fuss About Gmail and Privacy: Nine Reasons Why It's Bogus (Tim O'Reilly). 25 April 2004

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