Author Topic: Google linking of social network contacts to email raises concerns  (Read 700 times)

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By Alexei Oreskovic


A new feature in Google Inc's Gmail will result in some users receiving messages from people with whom they have not shared their email addresses, raising concerns among some privacy advocates.

The change, which Google announced on Thursday, broadens the list of contacts available to Gmail users so it includes both the email addresses of their existing contacts, as well as the names of people on the Google+ social network. As a result, a person can send an email directly to friends, and strangers, who use Google+.

Google is increasingly trying to integrate its Google+, a two-and-a-half-year old social network that has 540 million active users, with its other services. When consumers sign up for Gmail, the company's Web-based email service, they are now automatically given a Google+ account.

Google said the new feature will make it easier for people who use both services to communicate with their friends.

"Have you ever started typing an email to someone only to realize halfway through the draft that you haven't actually exchanged email addresses?" the company said in a blog post announcing the feature. "You're in luck, because now it's easier for people using Gmail and Google+ to connect over email."

Google said that users who did not wish to receive email messages from other people on Google+ could switch the settings so that they receive messages only from people they have added to their networks of friends or from no one at all.

Some privacy advocates said Google should have made the new feature "opt-in," meaning that users should explicitly agree to receive messages from other Google+ users, rather than being required to manually change the setting.

Marc Rotenberg, the executive director of non-profit Electronic Privacy Information Center, called the new feature "troubling."

"There is a strong echo of the Google Buzz snafu," he said, referring to a social networking service that Google launched in 2010. Buzz initially used its Gmail users' contact lists to create social networks that the rest of the world could see, leading to an uproar and ultimately a settlement with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission.

Google said the new feature would not expose the email addresses of any Google+ users to strangers. Emails from strangers on Google+ will be routed to a special section within the recipients mailbox that is separate from messages from friends and other contacts. If the recipient does not reply to the message, Gmail will block any future messages from that person.

A Google spokeswoman said the company planned to send an email to all Google+ users during the next two days alerting them to the change and explaining how to change their settings.

One exception to the new feature is celebrities on Google+, who are followed by a large number of fans. According to the spokeswoman, the Gmail accounts of such public figures will not automatically receive emails from other Google+ users.


http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/01/09/us-google-gmail-idUSBREA081NH20140109

Offline Oceander

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Re: Google linking of social network contacts to email raises concerns
« Reply #1 on: January 10, 2014, 09:05:56 AM »
It's gonna be a real PITA but I may finally have to get off gmail and onto another, more privacy-friendly, webmail provider.

Offline Rapunzel

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Re: Google linking of social network contacts to email raises concerns
« Reply #2 on: January 10, 2014, 01:09:20 PM »
It's gonna be a real PITA but I may finally have to get off gmail and onto another, more privacy-friendly, webmail provider.

I saw on The Blaze that Beck is now offering email accounts that offer total privacy.
“The time is now near at hand which must probably determine, whether Americans are to be, Freemen, or Slaves.” G Washington July 2, 1776

Offline flowers

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Re: Google linking of social network contacts to email raises concerns
« Reply #3 on: January 10, 2014, 03:50:21 PM »
I saw on The Blaze that Beck is now offering email accounts that offer total privacy.
Do you have to be a member of his website?


Offline AbaraXas

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Re: Google linking of social network contacts to email raises concerns
« Reply #4 on: January 10, 2014, 04:01:36 PM »
I saw on The Blaze that Beck is now offering email accounts that offer total privacy.

I hate to say it, but there is no such thing. The same with private browsers or private searches.  I'm sure he believes this in good faith but unless you start out with an unregistered PC with an open source OS that you don't register, use it on a network that is not registered to your name (free public network), and never use any sites where you have to register personal information (such as purchasing with a credit card), you'll never have private internet browsing or email. (and even in the case I described, if someone wanted to, they could crack your identity with a bit of work).

Everything you do on your PC and over your network is in some way interconnected to everything else, no matter how private you think something is.

A private email is still accessed from a browser on your PC that accesses other sites you use your name, on an OS you purchased in your name and registered, and over your network that is connected to your name/location. It is also being used to email others who may be connected to you so the breadcrumbs could be backtracked with ease. As soon as you connect that email with something that has your name, the connection is established and now the pipe is open to you through that email.

These services say they don't 'sell' your information. That is only one way big companies get your info and frankly, with tech the way it is, rather crude.

I would also add, if I were the NSA and thinking Machiavellian, the #1 target I would have for snooping would be so called 'private' email clients because people who go out of their way to think they are hiding. At that, I would even set up through shell companies these type of private services as Trojan Horses.

Offline Chieftain

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Re: Google linking of social network contacts to email raises concerns
« Reply #5 on: January 10, 2014, 04:05:46 PM »
I hate to say it, but there is no such thing. The same with private browsers or private searches.  I'm sure he believes this in good faith but unless you start out with an unregistered PC with an open source OS that you don't register, use it on a network that is not registered to your name (free public network), and never use any sites where you have to register personal information (such as purchasing with a credit card), you'll never have private internet browsing or email. (and even in the case I described, if someone wanted to, they could crack your identity with a bit of work).

Everything you do on your PC and over your network is in some way interconnected to everything else, no matter how private you think something is.

A private email is still accessed from a browser on your PC that accesses other sites you use your name, on an OS you purchased in your name and registered, and over your network that is connected to your name/location. It is also being used to email others who may be connected to you so the breadcrumbs could be backtracked with ease. As soon as you connect that email with something that has your name, the connection is established and now the pipe is open to you through that email.

These services say they don't 'sell' your information. That is only one way big companies get your info and frankly, with tech the way it is, rather crude.

I would also add, if I were the NSA and thinking Machiavellian, the #1 target I would have for snooping would be so called 'private' email clients because people who go out of their way to think they are hiding. At that, I would even set up through shell companies these type of private services as Trojan Horses.

Thank you for the most common sense explanation to debunk this nonsense that I have ever seen anywhere.  I don't know where this idea of internet privacy comes from, because since the very beginning of computers it was clear to anyone with half a brain that e-mail was anything but secure.

Besides, it is not only illegal to use sophisticated encription software, use of it would be an immediate red flag not only to the authorities, but to whomever owned the bandwidth you were using as well.


Offline Rapunzel

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Re: Google linking of social network contacts to email raises concerns
« Reply #6 on: January 10, 2014, 05:08:21 PM »
Do you have to be a member of his website?

I don't know...
“The time is now near at hand which must probably determine, whether Americans are to be, Freemen, or Slaves.” G Washington July 2, 1776

Offline flowers

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Re: Google linking of social network contacts to email raises concerns
« Reply #7 on: January 10, 2014, 05:11:36 PM »
I don't know...
I looked at the website I didn't see anything.


Offline Rapunzel

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Re: Google linking of social network contacts to email raises concerns
« Reply #8 on: January 10, 2014, 05:21:24 PM »
I looked at the website I didn't see anything.

I saw something about it a couple of weeks ago, didn't save it because I figure if someone wants to read all my junk mail have at it....... 
“The time is now near at hand which must probably determine, whether Americans are to be, Freemen, or Slaves.” G Washington July 2, 1776

Offline flowers

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Re: Google linking of social network contacts to email raises concerns
« Reply #9 on: January 10, 2014, 05:38:07 PM »
I saw something about it a couple of weeks ago, didn't save it because I figure if someone wants to read all my junk mail have at it.......
:laugh:


Offline Oceander

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Re: Google linking of social network contacts to email raises concerns
« Reply #10 on: January 10, 2014, 05:52:43 PM »
I hate to say it, but there is no such thing. The same with private browsers or private searches.  I'm sure he believes this in good faith but unless you start out with an unregistered PC with an open source OS that you don't register, use it on a network that is not registered to your name (free public network), and never use any sites where you have to register personal information (such as purchasing with a credit card), you'll never have private internet browsing or email. (and even in the case I described, if someone wanted to, they could crack your identity with a bit of work).

Everything you do on your PC and over your network is in some way interconnected to everything else, no matter how private you think something is.

A private email is still accessed from a browser on your PC that accesses other sites you use your name, on an OS you purchased in your name and registered, and over your network that is connected to your name/location. It is also being used to email others who may be connected to you so the breadcrumbs could be backtracked with ease. As soon as you connect that email with something that has your name, the connection is established and now the pipe is open to you through that email.

These services say they don't 'sell' your information. That is only one way big companies get your info and frankly, with tech the way it is, rather crude.

I would also add, if I were the NSA and thinking Machiavellian, the #1 target I would have for snooping would be so called 'private' email clients because people who go out of their way to think they are hiding. At that, I would even set up through shell companies these type of private services as Trojan Horses.

You can get a modicum of privacy - provided you're willing to trade speed and performance for privacy - by browsing through the Tor Network.  You still have to be careful, though, because - as they are at pains to point out - they can't protect you from yourself.

Offline AbaraXas

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Re: Google linking of social network contacts to email raises concerns
« Reply #11 on: January 10, 2014, 07:56:12 PM »
You can get a modicum of privacy - provided you're willing to trade speed and performance for privacy - by browsing through the Tor Network.  You still have to be careful, though, because - as they are at pains to point out - they can't protect you from yourself.

I have a gut feeling Tor is one of those Trojan Horses I mentioned. It was created on a platform called Onion Routing built by the U.S. Navy. The State Department was one of the original financiers of building the Tor Network.   Their hands were all in it before places like Pirate Bay existed.


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