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Californian university drops Gmail over privacy concerns

Not getting high on Chocolate Factory information handling

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US academics at the University of California-Davis have reportedly canned a Gmail pilot project over privacy fears regarding Google’s ill-conceived launch of Buzz.

According to Information Week the university’s IT officials backed out of plans to shift its email system for its 30,000 faculty and staff members over to Gmail because of privacy doubts over Google.

Many people at the university “expressed concerns that our campus’s commitment to protecting the privacy of their communications is not demonstrated by Google and that the appropriate safeguards are neither in place at this time nor planned for in the near future,” reads a damning joint letter penned by California-Davis’ CIO Peter Siegel and chums.

The Mountain View Chocolate Factory unsurprisingly dismissed the criticism and insisted its contracts with customers guaranteed user privacy.

"Obviously there's lots of opinions and voices on campuses," Google Apps education biz development boss Jeff Keltner told IW.

"By and large, it's not typical of what we're seeing in the market. We're seeing lots of schools move their students and faculty onto Gmail," he claimed.

Keltner added that Google Buzz, which the company bolted onto Gmail without prior user consent in January this year, hadn’t formed part of the university’s scrutiny of the email product.

Additionally, officials at the institution added in the letter that outsourcing email might not comply with University of California’s electronic comms policy.

"Though there are different interpretations of these sections, the mere emergence of significant disagreement on these points undermines confidence in whether adopting Google's Gmail service would be consistent with the policy." ®

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

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