Our world is becoming ever more digital with each passing day. Last Saturday we have a run with the online community when we ask our readers if their dads are still using Gmail?That was after Minister of Higher & Tertiary Education, Science & Technology Development, Prof Jonathan Moyo, Gmail account was hacked.
With e-commerce, social networking, e-health and online dating services, the internet is central to most people’s lives. Does this mean that the web has gained the trust of its users? Not quite. Although more and more of us are using the internet, many still have questions about it.
Even though the title of this article says “Please Stop Using Gmail for Your Business!” but you should stop using it also for your personal emails.
It was great while it lasted, but I finally broke up with Gmail. Though I had relied on Google’s popular email service for years, my level of satisfaction had been dropping steadily for a while. Now I’m returning to a good old-fashioned IMAP server, and I’m not looking back.
In this era of unprecedented digital surveillance and widespread political upheaval, the data stored on our cell phones, laptops, and especially our online services are a magnet for government actors seeking to track citizens, journalists, and activists.
In 2016, the United States government sent at least 49,868 requests to Facebook for user data. In the same time period, it sent 27,850 requests to Google and 9,076 to Apple. These companies are not alone: where users see new ways to communicate and store data, law enforcement agents see new avenues for surveillance.
Call me an old-fashioned conspiracy-theorist but do you know what Google is doing with your Gmail account? Well for starters Google is an American company using servers that reside in the USA. This means that legally they are obliged to allow the US Government access to your Gmail account if they deem so. Perhaps they’ve detected that you stated the word ‘bomb’ or ‘Trump’ in your emails?
We are relying on a multinational corporation with a proven history of privacy violations… to protect our privacy.
There are three safeguards to ensure that data we send to tech companies don’t end up in a government database: technology, law, and corporate policies. Technology—including the many ways data is deleted, obscured, or encrypted to render it unavailable to the government—is beyond the scope of this report. Instead, we’ll focus on law and corporate policies. We’ll turn a spotlight on how the policies of technology companies either advance or hinder the privacy rights of users when the U.S. government comes knocking.
But Gmail is brilliant, it’s Free and I’ve got nothing to hide.
Since the Electronic Frontier Foundation started publishing Who Has Your Back seven years ago, they have seen major technology companies bring more transparency to how and when they divulge our data to the government. This shift has been fuelled in large part by public attention. The Snowden revelations of 2013 and the resulting public conversation about digital privacy served as a major catalyst for widespread changes among the privacy policies of big companies. While only two companies earned credit in all of our criteria in 2013 (at a time when the criteria were somewhat less stringent than today, in our 2014 report, there were nine companies earning credit in every category.
Below is 2017 Who Has Your Back Report and Google scored only 4 stars, when the report come out they had not yet publicly committed to requesting judicial review of all NSLs.
This year Google said that is was planning to abandon its longstanding practice of scanning user email in its Gmail service to “serve targeted advertising.”
Google said it does not scan the email of paying corporate customers of its G Suite of services, but it made the policy change on its free consumer version to eliminate confusion and create one uniform policy toward Gmail.
The company said it will continue to serve ads in Gmail, which has more than 1.2 billion users, but it will target those ads based on information it has already gathered from other Google services like search or YouTube, instead of the content of email.
Google is everywhere and there are gathering information to power its massive advertising arm. Google is tracking you around the internet, building an individual advertising profile to better serve you ads. Some users don’t mind, reasoning that if they’re going to see ads (advertising essentially powers the internet), they might as well see ones relevant to their interests.
Trust and privacy are the biggest reasons to leave Google and its search algorithm behind. There is no beating about the bush. And your personal data, your personal searches, your obscure, seemingly trivial or highly embarrassing searches, are in there too.
Do you trust Google to follow their own (albeit now defunct) “Don’t be evil” company motto? Have you already eradicated Google from your life?