Thursday, August 15, 2013

Why Gmail Users Can't Expect Privacy

Text Traffic
by Rachel Hoyt
image by Stuart Miles via
The processor processes
The texts which one tosses
Into webs to whip them,
Ship them through thin air
Where privacy is rare.

The sticky web sticks to
Secrets and stats like glue
Hiding them far away
To stay as a memory
For all who wish to see.

The programming's programmed.
Privacy be damned.
The text once typed flies free.
Some see so photographic,
Remember text traffic.
© 2013 Rachel Hoyt. All rights reserved.
I understand intellectually
why Gmail knows quite a bit about me,
but must they preach for zero privacy?


  1. why dont you pay for your email instead of bitching?
    If you want privacy, get yourself a domain, pay for hosting and get a secure exchange server. Otherwise quit your goddamn whining. Gmail/Google dont owe you anything. Think other services that are free are much better? Switch and find out. Idiot.

    1. I have used many paid email services over time and doubt they are much more private. I have always assumed Google was collecting data on me for research to improve advertising, etc. and I really don't care. What I care about is law enforcement feeling they have free rights to all of that info and Google starting to preach the same. The government should have to hunt the internet for evidence like a normal human or get a warrant.

  2. I regret the extremely nasty comment that your post has, at first, elicited.

    Unfortunately, this is the common currency among people too cowardly to attach their real names to their inexcusably rude responses.

    In my opinion, the extensive spying on all of us by the US government's National Security Agency's surveillance mechanisms is a threat to the type of democracy envisaged and fought for by Thomas Jefferson and James Monroe.

    Google, Facebook, Microsoft's Outlook, Twitter, Yahoo, Verizon and other electronic communications providers have been forced to comply - or have obsequiously and silently agreed to - the government's demand that all our communications be recorded for possible review.

    The Google announcement you cited is merely their way of saying, "Now that you've found out what we've been doing, we hereby notify you that we can't do anything about it!"

    Some help re preserving privacy in web search programs is provided by "Ixquick." I know of no email programs at present that do the same, but at least one based in the Netherlands is preparing to launch later this year.

    William Smithers

    1. Thank you for commenting William. I regret that there are more people excited to leave nasty comments online than people who leave nice, informative comments like yours. :)

  3. Its true with alot of media. Preach privacy, insist on registration. Even with radio, Rush @ 990am and 1290AM afternoon idiot preach smaller government but the stations that host their shows play government supplied ads (Ad Council) all night. TAKE A BITE OUTTA CRIME, IM HAVING A STROKE, CUT YOUR WEEDS, PREPARE FOR COLLEGE (college is hugely over-sold), LOOK OUT FOR BAD MORTGAGE PEOPLE, WEAR CLEAN UNDERWEAR>YOU MIGHT GET N AN ACCIDENT ads.

    1. Perhaps we are all caught in similar situations. Google has our info because we love their services but don't want to pay for them. I wonder what the government has on them?

  4. Rachel,

    Paying has nothing to do with it. Almost every communications provider, including Verizon and the US Postal Service, that you do pay for, has been forced by the US government or has willingly and, up to now, secretly, assisted the government by logging and storing our communications and turning them over to the National Security Agency.

    "ixquick," "StartPage" and "DuckDuckGo" are the only web search providers I know of that seem to be free of government surveillance. In the next few months, StartPage says it is launching StartMail, an email provider located in the Netherlands that promises not to store or provide logs of sent material to any government organization.


    1. Thank you for that info Mr. Smithers! :)

  5. Hi Rachel--sorry that you are currently targeted for unpleasantness--yikes. You are handling with your usual aplomb and intellect. It is unnerving how little is private anymore. Ironically, gmail is great at keeping "SPAM" out of my inbox...
    ;-) Enjoyed your poem!

    1. Hi SaraV - You're so sweet. :) I've actually been experiencing these comments for quite some time, but they usually stay on where the posts are shared on Saturdays. I'm happy to have a healthy debate about any topic. They can be nasty if they want to, but I refuse to play that way. :)


Rhyming or not, I would like a lot to hear the thoughts my words brought...