Friday, April 16, 2004

Gmail makes strange bedfellows

Its not often that Tim O'Reilly and I agree, but his weblog posting "The Fuss About Gmail and Privacy: Nine Reasons Why It's Bogus" hits quite a few nails on the head. In particular, "There are already hundreds of millions of users of hosted mail services at AOL, Hotmail, MSN, and Yahoo! These services routinely scan all mail..."

But these other services are claiming they scan for spam, while Gmail will scan for keywords to target advertising. This unveils the sad truth about the whole privacy cartel - its not privacy they want, its the end of capitalism. I understand that there are still a number of folks (all my age or so) that want to reclaim the "good old days" when commercialism was banned on the internet. Evidently, though, they've managed to snare quite a few younger people into supporting their view while claiming its all about privacy. A lot of them are also the same folks who have told us over the years that they only watch public television because it isn't crass like the sponsored networks. Have you checked the shilling on PBS lately? Not only the almost continual pledge drives, but the "underwriter billboards" have gone from a single text-only slide to full blown 30 second commercials. How is this really different from CBS? But I digress...

Tim's post (which also digresses) should be a wakeup call to the technological community.

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