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Google Accused of Wiretapping in Gmail Scans

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by tulianr, Oct 2, 2013.

  1. tulianr

    tulianr Don Quixote de la Monkey

    SAN FRANCISCO — Wiretapping is typically the stuff of spy dramas and shady criminal escapades. But now, one of the world’s biggest Web companies, Google, must defend itself against accusations that it is illegally wiretapping in the course of its everyday business — gathering data about Internet users and showing them related ads.

    The accusations, made over several years in various lawsuits that have been merged into two separate cases, ask whether Google went too far in collecting user data in Gmail and Street View, its mapping project. Two federal judges have ruled, over Google’s protests, that both cases can move forward.

    The wiretapping rulings are the latest example of judges and regulators prodding Google over privacy violations. The company is on the defensive, struggling to persuade overseers and its users that it protects consumer data, while arguing that the law is stuck in the past and has failed to keep up with new technologies.

    The Gmail case involves Google’s practice of automatically scanning e-mail messages and showing ads based on the contents of the e-mails.

    “Google uses Gmail as its own secret data-mining machine, which intercepts, warehouses, and uses, without consent, the private thoughts and ideas of millions of unsuspecting Americans who transmit e-mail messages through Gmail,” lawyers for the plaintiffs argued on July 11, opposing Google’s motion to dismiss the case.

    In the June 13 motion to dismiss the suit, Google said the plaintiffs were trying to “criminalize ordinary business practices.” It argued that the scanning of Gmail messages was automated, with no human review, and was no different from the processes it uses to detect spam or viruses, offer in-box searching or filter messages into folders. It said users had consented to it by agreeing to Google’s terms of service and privacy policy.

    In a section of the motion that was widely noted, Google also argued that non-Gmail users had no expectation of privacy when corresponding with Gmail users.

    Also last week, Google asked the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit to reconsider a Sept. 10 ruling that a separate wiretapping lawsuit could proceed. That one involves Google Street View vehicles that secretly collected personal information from unencrypted home computer networks.

    The federal antiwiretapping law at the heart of both cases is part of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, a 1986 law that has been under fire for years for not taking into account modern-day technology like e-mail.

    kellory and Yard Dart like this.
  2. DarkLight

    DarkLight I self identify as a Blackhawk Attack Helicopter! Site Supporter

    Ok...I know I agreed to the terms of use and actually read almost all of it when I first set up my original email with them however long ago it was. Since then I admit I've just hit enter and moved along. But now, I'm done. I'm done with google and gmail and google-drive (nothing incrimenating or illegal, just a "cloud" place to put some stuff). By the end of October I'll be finished and will have closed all of my accounts with them.

    No, I don't anticipate that anything will actually be removed from their servers...that would be naive, but I'm not going to intentionally plug into their machine anymore.

    "Do no evil" is a great motto but who defines "evil"? Apparently Google does and has flexible morals. Right now my personal email is hosted (private domain) at Microsoft, which I'm SURE is no more secure. I'll be finding a new place to host that as well since I've closed my web hosting business and don't have anything in a colo anymore.
  3. BTPost

    BTPost Old Fart Snow Monkey Moderator

    Hey DL, why not host your OWN eMail, DNS, and Web Server, from your own location. It does have a bit of a Learning Curve, but I suspect that between you, and IceFoot, you could get it up and running in a short time. I have been using my own eMail, DNS, Web, and VPN, for decades. All based on a Headless (No Keyboard, Mouse, or Display) MacMini that sits on a shelf in my Partners basement, on a T3 Line, and Admin'ed over a VPN Connection. It has DeadMan Timer, and a NUKE Function, where if anyone serves a Federal FISA Warrant on my Partner, it only takes a single Encrypted Packet to initiate the Nuke Function, and there will be NOTHING to see, or trace, in about 20 Seconds. It takes longer than that to walk down to the basement, to get physical with the Server. It is backed up, Off-shore, to an Encrypted Server, with NO DNS Address. All this Security has been added in the last few months, due to the FEDs actions, in issuing FISA Warrants, to ISPs, here in the USA. .....
    AmericanRedoubt1776 likes this.
  4. DarkLight

    DarkLight I self identify as a Blackhawk Attack Helicopter! Site Supporter

    Bruce - I absolutely know how to do it, I've owned a web hosting (including email) company for 15 years. The problem is finding someone with the bandwidth for a decent price. I don't want to host it at home, for what I hope are obvious reasons (not all related to alphabet agencies) and one of the reasons I dropped the hosting company was due to it no longer being lucrative.

    I looked at continuing to have a server there but it was cost prohibitive (REALLY trying to get out of debt). They want $83+ a month for a 2u server (+$0.50/IP per month with a 4 IP minimum) and that's all I have. Even an old laptop would take up 1u and that's $55/month.

    I'm looking into ways to get back into hosting my own email but right now it's just too expensive. For now, I just don't send ANYTHING to ANYONE that could be construed by any moderately intelligent 3 yr old as "questionable".
    AmericanRedoubt1776 and tulianr like this.
  5. ghrit

    ghrit Ambulatory anachronism Administrator Founding Member

    I admit to having very little understanding of web hosting, and even less of the facilities you need.

    That said, I've been dealing with these guys for email for over 20 years. They might be more, ah, "friendly" for what you need. I've called on them a couple times for problems, right prompt fixes.

    Network Innovations
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