Great article by Tim O’Reilly about why the knee-jerk privacy concerns about Google’s Gmail service miss the point.
It’s continually surprising how many people don’t realize just how inherently insecure email is. Your words travel around the Internet, bouncing from computer to computer, and could be read at any point around the way. The only way to secure your words is through encryption, which is still too difficult for the non-technical user to implement. As a case in point, my service provider Cox forces me to route all outgoing mail through their SMTP server as a part of their efforts to reduce spam coming from Cox’s customers. Which is all fine and good if a bit annoying when I take my laptop somewhere else and have to change the SMTP settings. But this also means that somebody inside Cox could read all my outgoing email. Not being of the tin-foil hat persuasion, I don’t believe this is happening, but it certainly could. Putting in a piece of software to scan all outgoing email for certain key phrases is utterly trivial.
The thing that really seems to make some people uncomfortable is that Google scans each email in order to provide relevant ads. How is that different from what a spam filter or a virus scanner does, apart from a slightly different focus? Yahoo! Mail and Hotmail could bolt on the exact same concepts to their webmail engines, except of course that they don’t have a search engine as good as Google’s.
But the bigger issue here is privacy in general. At this point in time, your privacy is gone, and will not return unless people start voting with their pocketbooks by supporting companies that take privacy seriously.
So far, Google has done a good job of this.
Music: Stream from AfterhoursDJs
Posted Saturday, 17 April, 2004 by Nic Lindh
All Nic wants for WWDC is sync that actually works
Another book roundup, including some stellar athletes and soldiers, what might be the most jaded, soul-weary protagonist ever, and some grimdark fantasy.
The Internet is getting creepy, and Nic is breaking out his tinfoil hat after newspaper paywalls push him over the edge.
Nic is tired of tech sites obsessing over Apple’s financials and business strategy. So very tired.
Nic reads a book about the processed food industry and is incensed.
Computers are complicated. This brings out the irrational in people.
Nic proposes the loan word Rechthaberei be incorporated into American English.
The Core Dump is back! Books were read during the hiatus. Includes The Coldest Winter, Oh, Myyy!, Tough Sh*t, The Revolution Was Televised, The Rook, Mr. Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore, Gun Machine, Fortress Frontier, Standing in Another Man’s Grave, and The Memory of Light.
This site will return in February.
From a true patriot to a world-weary detective, a dead god, and a civilization about to sublime from the galaxy, this book roundup spans the gamut. Includes Where Men Win Glory, Wild, Inside the Box, The Black Box, Three Parts Dead, Red Country, and The Hydrogen Sonata.