Friday, June 29, 2007

google is spying on me (and you)

I don't know how this works, suspect it has something to do with cookies and other seemingly tasty things that are actually bits of confusing techni-code-whatever.

But Google is on the job, busily reading every email I send. Just to test it, I sent an innocuous note to myself from one Gmail account to the another . . .

Dear Belle ~
My dear, I am so disturbed about what is happening. It seems dickheads abound and there's nothing we can do to change course. Please share with me your thoughts on these matters.
Most lovingly,
Lynette

My sidebar links in the email I received from myself, each of which Google believes will be of interest given the text of my email, were more limited than usual, but included an outfit selling Labradoodle puppies and another selling wilderness homesites in Montana. Google hears my pain and responds with solutions. Despairing about the state of the nation? Get a dog and move to Montana.

This offends me on many levels, but one annoying example is that every conversation I have via email with my customers, all buyers of my antique furniture, results in a vast amount of linkage to others selling antique furniture. In these difficult times, I feel a bit proprietary about my longterm relationship with these people and the money I put into marketing my product. What right has Google to attempt to interfere with my business? (Yes, I could switch email accounts, but it is an enormous undertaking with an online business and, having done it once, I am most reluctant to do it again.)

Does this bug you? Am I hypersensitive in this era of Big Brother Bush and his band of wiretapping thugs? Do you think BushCo receives copies of this stuff in the same way AT&T assisted the National Security Agency in data-mining our telephone conversations?

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10 Comments:

Blogger Jeff said...

You may rest assured that every email message you send is scanned for possible "terrorist cues".

There is no more privacy. We surrendered that to Dubya in the lemmings rush to the illegal war.

June 29, 2007 11:13 AM  
Anonymous tater said...

Yes, pretty soon we will have to speak in code to avoid being arrested for crimes against the state. With Roberts as chief justice, anything is possible except our bill of rights.

June 29, 2007 11:19 AM  
Anonymous Big Fella said...

Yes, the U.S. government has the ability to filter every email crossing the Internet in the U.S.

If you do not encrypt what you send over the Internet, accept it as a given that someone, anyone, if motivated, can read your mail.

In terms of Google, their whole business is predicated upon the ability to archive and link related data. They do this for big business, and yes, for us little folks. By tracking our searches they can fine tune their search engine to help us have more successful search results in the future, and yes, to help determine what ads they will expose us to.

If you signed up for Gmail, then likely you agreed to their terms and conditions, where what you describe would be disclosed.

It is just part of Internet life, that where ever you go, what ever you do on the Internet, you will be leaving plenty of tracks.

Something else to keep in mind, what ever you have posted on the Internet, whether in your own blog, or comments anywhere else, it is being retained forever by Google. This is something many people do not realize, even if you posted something on some blog or web site, and then later got the owner of the site to remove your posting, it is still going to be archived by Google, for posterity.

I wouldn't look at this issue as meaning that Google is "evil" or anything, what is evil, is if agents of our government abuse our rights to privacy in their trumped up justifications to their illegal actions.

June 29, 2007 12:51 PM  
Blogger evilganome said...

I have noticed this with my email correspondence and find it more annoying than anything. I think I gave up any sense of privacy a long time ago.

June 29, 2007 2:38 PM  
Blogger JessiferSeabs said...

I think it's funny. My friends and I joke all the time about what advertising pops up when we send "racier" emails to each other. I don't think there's a little man reading my emails, I think that there's a computer program scanning for key words which then triggers the release of target-specific advertising. It's just all about the almighty dollars. Maybe I'm too lax, but I really just don't care.

June 29, 2007 3:44 PM  
Blogger Doralong said...

Can we say Patriot Act boys and girls?

June 29, 2007 4:49 PM  
Blogger Jeff said...

Yes, but speak slowly into the hidden microphone.

June 29, 2007 6:47 PM  
Anonymous eric said...

Hey, I added you to my blogroll. Could you take a look and see if my site is worthy to be on your roll? :-)

June 30, 2007 4:42 PM  
Blogger Ms. Place said...

Every site you've ever visited is collected by google. All you need to do is click on history, and then click on "show in sidebar." This is even scarier: type in your email address and see what happens. Tons of sites I visited pop up with my email address on it. Thanks to Google, the powers that be can easily find out that I visited Big Ass Belle at noon on such and such a day. Scary, huh?

July 01, 2007 10:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Google-watch recommends sending the following e-mail in response to Gmail users:

Dear Friend,

I have received your e-mail, but due to privacy concerns, I don't want to send my response to your Gmail account. Please give me another e-mail address where I can reach you. If you don't have another e-mail address, consider the following free e-mail accounts with generous storage which do not pose the same privacy risks:

-- Rediffmail (1GB + no content extraction)
-- Walla (1GB + no content extraction)
-- Spymac (1GB + no content extraction)
-- Aventure-mail (2GB + no content extraction)

For more information on the privacy risks posed by Gmail, see http://www.epic.org/privacy/gmail/faq.html.

Sincerely,

Concerned Citizen

Btw, Google-watch is a good site to peruse for NUMEROUS reasons to avoid Google like the plague.

Free advice: Never, ever do a DIRECT Google search. If you simply must do a Google search, then use an anonymous proxy server such as Anonymouse.org, or use an anonymous search engine like Info.com.

July 22, 2007 1:25 PM  

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