Sunday, 15 September 2013

I am not going to sign this petition

Care2 sent me an email

"In response to a lawsuit against Google for snooping through personal Gmail, Google claims that users have "no legitimate expectation of privacy" when it comes to their email."

They are, in my case, absolutely right. I use Gmail for people like care2 to send me petitions, for people who read my blog to let me know something that they don't want to leave as a comment. It is very useful for newsletters and other non-urgent, non-personal stuff. I have another email address I use for personal communications, and that is not paid for by advertising.

Google makes a great deal of money. But no-one pays for their services or software on-line. It is paid for by people who want to reach a targeted audience. It ought to be mean that when I see an ad on blogger or gmail I find it useful. I am surprised how often they miss the mark completely, but then this tells you something about the limitations of even really very smart software. And, by the way, why all that snooping the government is doing - which we pay for handsomely - is not actually making any of us any safer.

When I signed up for Gmail I had wanted it for some time. Because hotmail was so awful. Google actually restricted who could get Gmail. But I was under no illusion that it would not be used by Google to target ads because I knew that was what Google does. If any Gmail user was not aware of that then they do not deserve any sympathy nor can they expect to win a lawsuit. Nor will a petition to Google do any good. All it does is cause a few people to use the facepalm gesture.

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