Feeds

Germans garotte Google Gmail over privacy

Email scans are verboten

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Website security in corporate America

Google may have to rethink its new free email service Gmail, announced a week ago. The company is offering a whopping 1Gb of free storage, but scans the content of incoming email and seeds it with targeted ads.

This is forbidden, under German privacy laws, Andreas Hermann of the German Federal Data Protection Commission told a Hanover newspaper yesterday. In Germany, email, fax and phone conversations are considered to be confidential. Snooping on email is permitted only when substantial criminal activity is suspected.

Google stresses it will assign computers and not people to scan the content of emails, but this may still be a violation in Europe, where privacy protection laws are much stricter than in the US, where Google is based.

On Monday, citizens' group Privacy International filed a complaint with the UK Information Commissioner, and in the US 28 privacy and civil liberties groups yesterday sent an open letter, urging Google to reconsider its plans. The group claims the Gmail system sets "potentially dangerous precedents and establishes reduced expectations of privacy in email communications".

Meanwhile, Spymac Network announced a 1Gb email capacity increase for all its free member mail accounts with no strings attached. But maybe that's because their hosting servers are located in Dusseldorf, Germany. ®

Related stories

Google's Gmail hits trademark problem
Google mail is evil - privacy advocates
Google launches email, takes the Bill Gates defense

Reducing the cost and complexity of web vulnerability management

More from The Register

next story
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
Israeli spies rebel over mass-snooping on innocent Palestinians
'Disciplinary treatment will be sharp and clear' vow spy-chiefs
Apple CEO Tim Cook: TV is TERRIBLE and stuck in the 1970s
The iKing thinks telly is far too fiddly and ugly – basically, iTunes
Huawei ditches new Windows Phone mobe plans, blames poor sales
Giganto mobe firm slams door shut on Microsoft. OH DEAR
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Found inside ISIS terror chap's laptop: CELINE DION tunes
REPORT: Stash of terrorist material found in Syria Dell box
OECD lashes out at tax avoiding globocorps' location-flipping antics
You hear that, Amazon, Google, Microsoft et al?
Show us your Five-Eyes SECRETS says Privacy International
Refusal to disclose GCHQ canteen menus and prices triggers Euro Human Rights Court action
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.