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DeeBeeS

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6 Jan 2004
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This article was in the London Metro Newspaper today and may be of some interest.

Are we spied upon too much?



THE NEW WEBMAIL service planned by Internet search engine Google was attacked yesterday as nothing more than online snooping.
Users of Gmail will receive adverts personally targeted at them after computers scan their e-mail messages, civil rights campaigners claimed.

E-mails could remain on Google's servers even after Gmail users have deleted them from their in-boxes.

Campaigners also voiced concerns that Google might use 'cookies' - files containing people's personal details and their surfing habits - to build up a picture of the user. Pressure group Privacy International said it had complained to the Information Commissioner, who is responsible for upholding Britain's privacy laws.

Director Simon Davies claimed that Gmail's proposals were a 'vast violation' of European privacy laws, which are much stricter than those in America where Google is based.

Maurice Westerling, of the Dutch privacy group Bits of Freedom, said: 'If a person deletes an e-mail, he should be confident it is actually deleted. Google cannot just open e-mails. Communication in Europe has very high protection.' Google insisted that e-mail scanning would be done by computer, not by people.

'No humans read your emails to target the ads,' it stated.

Gmail's offer of free storage of up to 500,000 pages of e-mail per customer would enable people to retrieve huge numbers of old messages, it added
 

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