Secure Under the Goo-goo-googly Eyes

Writing for the Christian Science Monitor's SciTech weblog, Tom Regan joins the ranks of people creeped out by the prospect of Google reading their e-mail:

What's to stop our good ol' buddy John Ashcroft down at the US Justice Department from dropping by Google headquarters with a quiet little Patriot Act subpoena, or something similar, that would instruct Google to add a few extra features to its machine that reads e-mails, creating 'special' searches to "help with the war on terror." No, I am not being paranoid. We all know the FBI would do something like this in a heartbeat.

If this is a concern, Regan's got more to worry about than Google's Gmail service. Every e-mail service reads your mail with its software, and these days many even analyze message text to spot spam. All Web-based e-mail services are tailor-made for government snoopware.

The only thing that might raise the alarm about Gmail, compared to its rivals, is Google's growing expertise at context-based text analysis.


Sigh. Remember the days when e-mail was read on a terminal by typing "mail" at a prompt? I was in heaven when I learned to use pine on the AT&T; system at UNF. I suppoes it would have been simple for someone to craft a script to read everyone's mail back then, but who ever thought about that?

By the way, I though this whole GMail thing was an April Fool's gag?

My old-school mail experience was on local BBSes. I thought Fidomail, which distributed e-mail from system to system and took a couple days to cross the U.S., was a marvel.

I didn't know you were a UNF grad. Good school?

"All Web-based e-mail services are tailor-made for government snoopware."

Actually, you should strike "web-based" from that statement.

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