Gift horse has rotten teeth and bad breath: Watchdogs Slam Google’s New E-Mail Service

While there has been lots and lots of press on Gmail, consumer watchdogs have started attacking it as a creepy invasion of privacy that threatens to set a troubling precedent.

Below is my standard assortment of quotes pulled from the article, but I wanted to start by quoting the last line in the story: “Rosing said there will be an information firewall separating Google’s search engine from Gmail. “We don’t use the data collected on one service,” he said, “to enhance another.”

Can that really be true? For how long? I think they must mean that they don’t use a certain type of information for a certain type of use — but it seems obvious that they must be using the information. Why else? When does an “network integration” breach an “information firewall” ??

On to the array of quotes:

Privacy activists worry Gmail will comb through e-mail more intensively than the filters widely used to weed out potential viruses and spam.

opponents also want Google to revise a policy that entitles the company to retain copies of people’s incoming and outgoing e-mail even after they close their accounts.

“We are not going over to the dark side,” said Wayne Rosing, Google’s vice president of engineering. “Consumers can expect us to treat their e-mail as private and with a great deal of respect. I don’t think we are doing anything unreasonable.”

“We don’t see this as any different than letting a company listen in on your phone conversations and letting the Postal Service open your mail.”