Google’s GMail is niet erger dan reeds bestaande email sites

3 mei 2004, 18:08

De vreemde mix van privacy-advocaten, anti-globalisten en anti-commercial-groeperingen die zich tegen Google keren in de hoop om het bedrijf er van te weerhouden haar nieuwe Gmail dienst aan te bieden zal waarschijnlijk verbaast zijn dat de reeds bestaande gratis e-mail-providers al datgene doen waar deze groeperingen zich kwaad over maken.

Yahoo Mail bijvoorbeeld veroorloofd zich al lang het doorzoeken van e-mail berichten. Hotmail schijnt gericht te adverteren op basis van de inhoud van e-mails.

A MarketingVOX investigation revealed that different free email sites include different levels of interaction with message content.

For instance the message “travel air flight fare” sent to a Hotmail account came up with an ad for a travel site The message “love match date couple relationship” spawned ads for, a dating service for people looking for serious relationships. Reloading that page brought up ads for LavaLife, One2OneMatch and, and then a string of non-dating related sites. Since the testing was anecdotal, the email engines may be merely coincidentally providing relevant ads, but tests were run on four categories of message at least seven times each. Yahoo and appeared to not trigger ads based on message content.

Messages to Microsoft and over the weekend seeking comment on the practices were not yet returned. A Yahoo representative responded, sending a link to the company’s privacy policy (which doesn’t mention anything about email content) and declined to answer when the email search function became available. MarketingVOX also approached for comment the head of Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), an organization that has been critical of Gmail’s potential for privacy abuse. EPIC filed a Freedom of Information Act request last week for documents from the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI). EPIC was fishing for information that might tell it whether or not the FBI contemplated using services like Gmail for law enforcement purposes, something it hasn’t legally been able to do by itself.

In further support of our request for expedited processing is that fact that Gmail is capable of performing precisely the functions for law enforcement and intelligence agencies that have been the subject of Congressional action and widespread public debate.


Raymond ten Barge
Senior Online Marketeer bij ACSI Publishing


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