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Last post Author Topic: Google: Gmail users shouldn't expect email privacy  (Read 10138 times)

wraith808

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Google: Gmail users shouldn't expect email privacy
« on: August 14, 2013, 12:40:31 PM »
Presented without comment

google-for-nonprofits-cha-010.jpg

Google: Gmail users shouldn't expect email privacy (Via the Guardian)

Quote
Gmail users have no "reasonable expectation" that their emails are confidential, Google has said in a court filing.

Consumer Watchdog, the advocacy group that uncovered the filing, called the revelation a "stunning admission." It comes as Google and its peers are under pressure to explain their role in the National Security Agency's (NSA) mass surveillance of US citizens and foreign nationals.

"Google has finally admitted they don't respect privacy," said John Simpson, Consumer Watchdog's privacy project director. "People should take them at their word; if you care about your email correspondents' privacy, don't use Gmail."

Google set out its case last month in an attempt to dismiss a class action lawsuit that accuses the tech giant of breaking wire tap laws when it scans emails in order to target ads to Gmail users.

That suit, filed in May, claims Google "unlawfully opens up, reads, and acquires the content of people's private email messages." It quotes Eric Schmidt, Google's executive chairman: "Google policy is to get right up to the creepy line and not cross it."

"Unbeknown to millions of people, on a daily basis and for years, Google has systematically and intentionally crossed the 'creepy line' to read private email messages containing information you don't want anyone to know, and to acquire, collect, or mine valuable information from that mail," the suit claims.

In its motion to dismiss the case, Google said the plaintiffs were making "an attempt to criminalize ordinary business practices" that have been part of Gmail's service since its introduction. Google said "all users of email must necessarily expect that their emails will be subject to automated processing."

More at link.

Court filing


Ok, I lied... one comment.

:wallbash:

TaoPhoenix

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Re: Google: Gmail users shouldn't expect email privacy
« Reply #1 on: August 14, 2013, 02:06:38 PM »

Okay, I'll comment!

This is posted here for the most relevance, but I wonder if it has any kind of tangential edge correlation to the Snowden Affair.

Abbreviated From Slashdot:
"For most businesses, data analytics presents an opportunity. But for DARPA, the military agency responsible for developing new technology, so-called 'Big Data' could represent a big threat....

As Foreign Policy points out, there's a certain amount of irony in the government soliciting ways to reduce its vulnerability to data exploitation. 'At the time government officials are assuring Americans they have nothing to fear from the National Security Agency poring through their personal records,' the publication wrote, 'the military is worried that Russia or al Qaeda is going to wreak nationwide havoc after combing through people's personal records.'"

So isn't THAT a complicated new development? The "easy depressing view" is that Corps & Govts are in semi-agreement, maybe with bumps on precise edge cases, but generally happy to work together to create a nice totalitarian prison with soothing muted colors backed by political court judgements & stuff.

But what happens if you begin to get them both nipping at each others' heels, with Govt saying the Biz dataset is a security risk and Biz saying that new Govt rules are an economic risk?

I'm just a poor lil' humanities type - figuring out how *that* plays out (beyond a mere truce agreement), is beyond me!

Now also from Slashdot, "A group of researchers from MIT and the University of Ireland has presented a paper (PDF) showing that one of the most important assumptions behind cryptographic security is wrong. As a result, certain encryption-breaking methods will work better than previously thought. "

So what if we get a thermonuclear data explosion where *everyone's data* becomes available all at once, with none of this peaceful filtering? You know, someone willing to risk instant death for treason busts all of data collection wide open, Johnny Mnemonic style?

Speculation is now open, drinks half price!
:Thmbsup:

Renegade

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Re: Google: Gmail users shouldn't expect email privacy
« Reply #2 on: August 14, 2013, 07:17:06 PM »
The "easy depressing view" is that Corps & Govts are in semi-agreement, maybe with bumps on precise edge cases, but generally happy to work together to create a nice totalitarian prison with soothing muted colors backed by political court judgements & stuff.

Welcome to Prison Planet Earth! ;D

But shouldn't Google and pretty much every other company like it, i.e. criminal collaborators with the criminals in government,  be sued/charged for false/deceptive advertising?

Really.

Like, look at this:

Screenshot - 8_15_2013 , 10_03_15 AM.png

And this:

Screenshot - 8_15_2013 , 10_03_57 AM.pngGoogle: Gmail users shouldn't expect email privacy

Isn't "Privacy Policy" at best misleading?

Wouldn't "Surveillance Policy" be far more accurate?

Or perhaps "Surveillance & Data Mining Policy"?

I for one would certainly feel better if it were illegal to be dishonest about criminal activity. :P
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wraith808

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Re: Google: Gmail users shouldn't expect email privacy
« Reply #3 on: August 14, 2013, 08:09:33 PM »
As I posted the original, I have to post the correction link also:

Yes, Gmail users have an expectation of privacy

So, though I know that the day that Google is proven to be evil will come... but that day is not today.

Tinman57

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Re: Google: Gmail users shouldn't expect email privacy
« Reply #4 on: August 14, 2013, 08:13:37 PM »
Wraith beat me to this story.   :o  It's also here: http://www.pcworld.c...out-nothing-new.html  where there's a different take on it.


TaoPhoenix

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Re: Google: Gmail users shouldn't expect email privacy
« Reply #5 on: August 14, 2013, 08:44:57 PM »
As I posted the original, I have to post the correction link also:

Yes, Gmail users have an expectation of privacy

So, though I know that the day that Google is proven to be evil will come... but that day is not today.

"Yes it is today, just not in this story. It's in the next story over".

This is spin control.

I like to use a Magic the Gathering analogy for current news (even though I never played all that well!)
News reports B.
News reports D.
News comments that "see, nothing is all that bad".
News reports C. Your intuition is ringing, but you can't quite put a finger on it. But also by this point B and D are old hat, and we've been trained that anything older than Last Month is old hat. (You can joke about Last Week, but the cycles are really just a bit longer than that.)


Then News reports A, the Oh Dear Gawd piece. A + B + C + D = the nasty gamelocking combo, and if it had ever come out all at once, no one would ever have allowed it.

So here, if I send an email to a Gmail user, *I wouldn't expect that to show me ads in a YouTube video*! But they have cross-link tech now, and they can do that soon.


Vurbal

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Re: Google: Gmail users shouldn't expect email privacy
« Reply #6 on: August 14, 2013, 10:54:49 PM »
The most important thing to remember is that Consumer Watchdog is not what their name implies. They're basically a parasite that has attached itself to Google to promote themselves. A couple years ago they were making up lies about Google Analytics, telling everyone about how evil it supposedly is even though they were using it themselves. And more importantly what they were saying wasn't true.

I have plenty of problems with Google WRT AdSense. I'm not happy about their failure to use some loose change from their treasure hoard to defend users against obviously abusive and overreaching subpoenas. However they have also been a lot more open about what they do and don't do with user and search data than anyone else. Yes, they turned information over to the government. That's what happens when the secret police come knocking at your door. They were also the first company to volunteer information about government data requests, long before anybody knew about the NSA arm twisting programs.

AdSense does not have information about you from your Gmail account. A bot analyzes the contents of your emails and serves ads based on that. It does not send it to a database to be compiled into an aggregate set of data specific to you. Neither that bot nor any other part of their ad service has access to your account information. It certainly isn't available to AdSense partners and neither is information about the people who send you emails.

I'm not naive enough to think that's because they're just great people. But they're smart enough to recognize the danger of crossing certain lines. Sooner or later it would come out - probably sooner. It would provide exactly the ammunition clueless politicians around the world have been looking for so they can take Google down. They simply aren't in the suicide business.

Consumer Watchdog, however, is in the making money by attacking Google business. They admitted it to Mike Masnick in 2010. Like I said, there are plenty of good reasons to criticize Google, but if it comes down to Consumer Watchdog's word against Google's only one of them has been caught lying to sell books. You'll have to make your own call on that one.
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40hz

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Re: Google: Gmail users shouldn't expect email privacy
« Reply #7 on: August 15, 2013, 08:01:25 AM »
In the wake of the Snowden Revelations it's all moot.

Now it's time to stop useless finger pointing and trying to fix the blame. Especially since it should be fairly obvious by now that everybody was in on it - including the American public itself for their continuing refusal to face yet another "inconvenient truth."

Who really cares what's been done? Or by whom at this point. The big question - the real question - is what we're going to do about this nightmare we've allowed to become real.


rgdot

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Re: Google: Gmail users shouldn't expect email privacy
« Reply #8 on: August 15, 2013, 08:05:56 AM »
In the wake of the Snowden Revelations it's all moot.

Now is the time to stop finger pointing and trying to fix blame. Especially since it should be fairly obvious by now that everybody was in on it - including the public itself for its continuing refusal to face the present reality.

Who really cares what's been done? Or by whom at this point. The big question - the real question - is what we're going to do about this nightmare we've allowed to become real.



This.


Renegade

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Re: Google: Gmail users shouldn't expect email privacy
« Reply #9 on: August 15, 2013, 09:33:32 AM »
In the wake of the Snowden Revelations it's all moot.

Now it's time to stop useless finger pointing and trying to fix the blame. Especially since it should be fairly obvious by now that everybody was in on it - including the American public itself for their continuing refusal to face yet another "inconvenient truth."

Who really cares what's been done? Or by whom at this point. The big question - the real question - is what we're going to do about this nightmare we've allowed to become real.

Move to Ancapistan? :P ;D

But cereally, what can most people do? Vote? Hahaha! Like that will change anything - it only makes things worse. Lobby? Yeah, that works real well - if you're from K Street and have deep pockets. Protest? Sure - the free speech zone is way over there on the other side of the cow field in the valley behind the briar bushes.

I suppose that people could start opting out of using anything used to spy on them, e.g. your supermarket loyalty card where they collect data on you about what you eat then sell it to your insurance company so they can raise your rates for eating too many Twinkies Chocolate Frosted Sugar Bombs. (I already told you that I was being cerealous!) But I really doubt most people are even remotely aware of the kind or depth of surveillance conducted against them. Most people don't have time to even become aware that there is a problem - they're too busy struggling to survive. (Gee... what a convenient coincidence?)

The people behind all this are smart. Extremely smart. They are polymaths that put us the smartest of us here to shame. They're 100 steps ahead, and we're wearing an albatross around our necks. They have a massive front line of soldiers to fall for them. At best, you can shoot a messenger by having 1 thrown in prison. Better have a metaphorical machine gun. Can enough messengers be shot?

Ok, got my poop-on-the-parade out...

I think there is hope, but there is that question...

What we're going to do about this nightmare we've allowed to become real.

  • Help inform people - friends, relatives, family, whoever will listen.
  • Opt out as much as possible.
  • Use TOR.
  • Use a VPN. (Pay in bitcoin for better anonymity.)
  • Use fake email accounts.
  • Use fake names & birth dates. (Keep track of these things in something like Keepass.)
  • Cancel any subscriptions/services you don't need/use, particularly from large corporates.
  • Stop purchasing anything you don't need to do what little you can to starve the beast:
  • - keep your money out of the system as much as possible
  • - buy local & spend local
  • - replace big brand names from large companies with products from small companies
  • - get rid of fiat in favour of assets (when possible).

I could go on, but I'd be digressing quite a bit, e.g. next on the list is stuff like planting a garden, visit the Basement where we discuss these kinds of things ;), etc.

I see a sick and diseased system, and the only cure is to get away from it as much as possible. Starve the beast. Withdraw and let it starve and die and alone. Then use the rotting carcass as mulch for fertilizer.

They don't care what your opinion is. In a recent speech the POTUS basically told people to f*(& off, shut up, and take it. They're going to do whatever they damn well please.

Then there's the bigger question... What else are these thugs up to, and what are we going to do about those things? This is just the tip of the iceberg. The first waft of rot and decay that most people are smelling. Hopefully the stench will wake some up.
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TaoPhoenix

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Re: Google: Gmail users shouldn't expect email privacy
« Reply #10 on: August 15, 2013, 01:56:03 PM »
... everybody was in on it - including the American public itself for their continuing refusal to face yet another "inconvenient truth."
...

I'd like to disagree with this wording. Govt & Corps are "in on it" - actively spending billions on it.

The Public is just caught in a giant form of some mix of Prisoner's Dilemma and Tragedy of the Commons and related "Game Theory" stuff. Given a "safe" outlet such as web comments or chat rooms, tens of millions of Americans are not happy at all!

But then they get stuck because they have no recourse. Nothing short of a stunning "gestalt" movement 1000 times stronger than the Anti-SOPA one will have any effect. So no, we're not "in on it". We just don't know what to do.

I don't think Obama is a saint, but I'd say he's a wee few % points better than Bush, and the *other ticket* was even worse!

Then you get Congress, where "all the States (via the reps) get to hang out" in the same rooms, but there's no current method for Wisconsin Activists to tell the Vermont Activists to vote out their guy/gal.

Then you get more meetings in the 3-letter-agency rooms and the Corp back conference rooms with the hundred dollar catered lunches.

Snowden made a start, and he's gotten a few steps farther than Bradley Manning did. But we need something to make it stick.

rgdot

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Re: Google: Gmail users shouldn't expect email privacy
« Reply #11 on: August 15, 2013, 03:25:10 PM »
Two words: Third party.
More words: Only people can make that happen and they can.

TaoPhoenix

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Re: Google: Gmail users shouldn't expect email privacy
« Reply #12 on: August 15, 2013, 07:40:38 PM »
Two words: Third party.
More words: Only people can make that happen and they can.

Another word: Coordination
More words: Without it nothing happens and the third party gets laughed at.
I keep saying we need a Political Social Network like VoteBook.



rgdot

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Re: Google: Gmail users shouldn't expect email privacy
« Reply #13 on: August 15, 2013, 08:31:50 PM »
I can't answer that without moving the thread to the basement  :P

Seriously though, coordination existed and is being crushed ... unions.
The majority, not saying you, of the people that laugh at the third party idea are the ones that could help create it, by doing something instead of laughing. The people in power that will be most harmed by third party are not laughing but are happy that 'you' are laughing about it.

40hz

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Re: Google: Gmail users shouldn't expect email privacy
« Reply #14 on: August 15, 2013, 10:33:18 PM »
Two words: Third party.
More words: Only people can make that happen and they can.

Another word: Coordination
More words: Without it nothing happens and the third party gets laughed at.
I keep saying we need a Political Social Network like VoteBook.

The powers that be are well aware of all that.

That's why things like the NSA and PRISM were put in place. To stay on top of any attempt to coordinate or network in opposition to the current state of affairs or those in power.

You have a militarized police force; widespread and blanket surveillance; blatant disregard of due process and constitutional safeguards; a complete breakdown of the doctrine of separation of powers; secret tribunals and laws...the list goes on.

Does anyone still have doubts the growing concern on the part of the general public - and the possible actions that would logically result because of it - weren't carefully anticipated and planned for? This is a process that began back at the dawn of the Cold War era and has continued at a varying pace through all the administrations which followed.

All the pieces are now in place to make some elements believe it's finally come time for the US government to be taken completely out of the hands of the American people. And furthermore, it's now doable.

Heed the warning signs.
Fascism.jpg


To my mind, the only question remaining is: How soon before it's tried - and by whom.

TaoPhoenix

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Re: Google: Gmail users shouldn't expect email privacy
« Reply #15 on: August 15, 2013, 10:58:31 PM »
I can't answer that without moving the thread to the basement  :P

Seriously though, coordination existed and is being crushed ... unions.
The majority, not saying you, of the people that laugh at the third party idea are the ones that could help create it, by doing something instead of laughing. The people in power that will be most harmed by third party are not laughing but are happy that 'you' are laughing about it.

Oh, I am not laughing at third parties at all. I am doing my modest best to just keep putting the ideas in a few places. The "Laughing" is often fake, instigated by the Big Media.

In my mind, the problem with Unions is that they are/were still a type of "1.0 slow". The coordination I am referring to is specifically a 2.0 Viral Social thing, that I think we still have an edge shot at doing, but only once. But I believe there is that once, but then we'd better make it count.

Structurally it's fairly simple. People can log on, and some well funded team posts all laws and all votes for example of all US Congress. (Stay simple, skip the states for now.) In a sense, with modern web building, that isn't that hard. It's not 1997 where the big leagues could be 2 people posting a cool little page anymore. Get a team of say 70 on this, do it big, do it right. Then for each law, you can roll it up and down in depth. Then each "potential voter" can Upvote or Downvote a specific piece, and then tie that to "would this rep's position on this law make me Kick Him Out"?

Then you can optionally Share My Vote so that other people suddenly see that "gee, there's this crowd of people Kicking Him Out over this SOPA thing, what's that and why?"

That's the coordination I mean. So then with summarizing functions, the Voters across the nation modularly join each other getting really upset over some rep on X position of several bills, and they see each other etc etc, and suddenly on election day, *it happens*.

There's nothing like that out ... YET. To me Social Media is (for worse!?) stuck on *entertainment*. Cat Photos, Farmville, Tweets, etc. But turn Elections away from this somber thing it is, into a *game*, and I think it could really work. Might not get it all the way to the President, but I really bet you can get it to work on specific state congress critters. (Because there are so many of them.)

I would *love it* if anyone felt like whipping up a prototype - I simply don't program, but I guarantee it's not "all that tough" logic wise. (It only does about 12 things.)


Renegade

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Re: Google: Gmail users shouldn't expect email privacy
« Reply #16 on: August 15, 2013, 11:00:04 PM »
To my mind, the only question remaining is: How soon before it's tried - and by whom.

1) As soon as they possibly can.
2) The same people who have orchestrated the whole show to begin with.

I think I should stop there.
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Re: Google: Gmail users shouldn't expect email privacy
« Reply #17 on: August 15, 2013, 11:07:48 PM »
@rgdot - Something like that would be very interesting to see. I would worry about the typical way that legislation is done though. e.g. The 2012 NDAA slipped in a trojan horse to allow for the indefinite detention of anyone, and they whined about how they had to pass it anyways. The same thing happens with other legislation, i.e. Create something non-controversial or something that you have to pass thanks to a crisis that you've created, then slip in a trojan horse.
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Re: Google: Gmail users shouldn't expect email privacy
« Reply #18 on: August 15, 2013, 11:48:19 PM »
Blah - I should note there that you'd need a pretty complex way to "vote" as you'd have to have it very fine-grained with voting/liking/starring down to the point level. It's certainly not impossible, but it's not like you could simply "vote on Bill ACME-456". Sure, you might want to pass legislation to make rocket-skates legal everywhere, but you sure as guns don't want to outlaw hunting road runners. ;D
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app103

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Re: Google: Gmail users shouldn't expect email privacy
« Reply #19 on: August 16, 2013, 08:29:47 AM »
I'll just leave this here...

EMAIL SECURITY.png

wraith808

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Re: Google: Gmail users shouldn't expect email privacy
« Reply #20 on: August 16, 2013, 09:44:28 AM »
That would be a bit more applicable if security is what we were talking about.  Security =/= Privacy, though they have many of the same concerns.

Renegade

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Re: Google: Gmail users shouldn't expect email privacy
« Reply #21 on: August 16, 2013, 09:50:35 AM »
I'll just leave this here...
 (see attachment in previous post)

Good point. I think a lot of us take that for granted, but I doubt many people who aren't in tech or don't operate email systems know that.

That would be a bit more applicable if security is what we were talking about.  Security =/= Privacy, though they have many of the same concerns.

Yeah, but if it's not secure, it can't (or is harder to) be private. They're related. If you can lock things up better, you have a better chance at privacy.

But honestly, does anyone here think that email isn't fundamentally broken? I've been harping on this for years off and on.
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app103

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Re: Google: Gmail users shouldn't expect email privacy
« Reply #22 on: August 16, 2013, 10:15:53 AM »
That would be a bit more applicable if security is what we were talking about.  Security =/= Privacy, though they have many of the same concerns.

Would you expect any sort of security or privacy with a hand written letter, placed in an unsealed envelope, handed off to a chain of strangers to be finally delivered to its intended recipient (and I am not talking about any government run postal service here)? Any one of the strangers anywhere between you and the recipient could easily snoop on its contents and do whatever they wanted with any info gained from that snooping.

Email is like sending a postcard. There isn't even an envelope.

The only way an email can remain private and secure between point of origin and final destination is if it is encrypted with PGP or something similar.
« Last Edit: August 16, 2013, 11:02:22 AM by app103 »

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Re: Google: Gmail users shouldn't expect email privacy
« Reply #23 on: August 16, 2013, 11:29:11 AM »
I'll just leave this here...
 (see attachment in previous post)

ROFLMFAO!!! That is BRILLIANT!! Seriously, I'm so frigging tired of having that conversation I could scream ... I'm going to have the graphics department blow that up to poster size and hang it in my office!

 :-* :-* Thank You!!!  :-* :-*

app103

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Re: Google: Gmail users shouldn't expect email privacy
« Reply #24 on: August 16, 2013, 12:24:18 PM »
I'll just leave this here...
 (see attachment in previous post)

ROFLMFAO!!! That is BRILLIANT!! Seriously, I'm so frigging tired of having that conversation I could scream ... I'm going to have the graphics department blow that up to poster size and hang it in my office!

 :-* :-* Thank You!!!  :-* :-*

I created that graphic for an upcoming article I will be writing about email security and how it relates to website security.