Gayle Madwin (queerbychoice) wrote,
Gayle Madwin

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Why Not to Use Gmail, or Even Send Mail to Gmail Addresses

. . . unless you just have complete faith that the same law enforcement systems that spied relentlessly on everyone from Senator John Kerry to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and recently infiltrated a local peace organization in Fresno, California will just magically never ever try to bother you.
"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. . . . 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. . . . After 180 days in the U.S., email messages lose their status 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. . . . 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. . . . Google has not even formally stated in their privacy policy that they will not keep a list of keywords scanned from incoming email, and associate these with the incoming email address in their database. They've said that their advertisers won't get personally identifiable information from email, but that doesn't mean that Google won't keep this information for possible future use. Google has never been known to delete any of the data they've collected, since day one. For example, their cookie with the unique ID in it, which expires in 2038, has been tracking all of the search terms you've ever used while searching their main index."


"California Attorney General Bill Lockyer has acknowledged a letter sent by EPIC, Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, and World Privacy Forum regarding Gmail and California's two-way consent requirement in its wiretapping laws. Lockyer wrote in a response dated June 4: 'The potential exposure of Gmail users to liability for violation of Penal Code section 631 is of particular concern, as are the rights of those who are not subscribers to Gmail but who send e-mail to those who are.' . . . Thirty-one privacy and civil liberties organizations have signed a letter urging Google to suspend its Gmail service until the privacy issues are adequately addressed."

     from (which also has the full text of Lockyer's letter)
And here's how and why to anonymize your Google cookie.
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