April 01, 2004


A colleague and former professor, Mary Minow, clued me in to the whole google gmail thing early today. My initial response was like many others - just an April Fool's Day thing. But it ain't so. Mary and I are like-minded in our concerns for privacy issues, and the whole adwords Gmail thing just doesn't SMELL right. Another very close friend, however, argues that email is already scanned by machines to detect spam, so how is scanning in order to serve ads different? My reply is that I just don't want Ashcroft and Poindexter getting a hold of these technologies, or subpoenaing Google to deliver information to keep us all secure.

There's already a pretty big loophole, it seems to me, in Google's published privacy policy for Gmail:

"Google employees do not access the content of any mailboxes unless you specifically request them to do so (for example, if you are having technical difficulties accessing your account) or if required by law, to maintain our system, or to protect Google or the public." read more

What if someone decides they need "protection" from subversive, left-leaning librarians such as myself? What then? Oooh, protect us from the commie, pinko fags, the Daniel Ellsbergs, Allen Ginsbergs, Jim Morrisons, Michael Moores, etc., etc. Open an FBI file on me, quick! Oh yeah, wait, I think there already is one left over from that protest at Vandenburg AFB back in the 80's.

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