Last week we got a glimpse into how far Google is willing to go to defend its position when they issued the following statement in a motion to dismiss a lawsuit filed against them:

Just as a sender of a letter to a business colleague cannot be surprised that the recipient’s assistant opens the letter, people who use web-based email today cannot be surprised if their communications are processed by the recipient’s ECS provider in the course of delivery. Indeed,"a person has no legitimate expectation of privacy in information he voluntarily turns over to third parties.” [emphasis mine]

Consumer Watchdog, a consumer protection website, issued a press release urging Gmail users to who are even slightly concerned about privacy to choose a different service.  The site reports that Google further argues that sending e-mail through their service is a lot like using the post office to send mail.  The problem with this analogy is that we don’t expect (and it is a federal crime for it to happen) the postmaster to open up the e-mail and use that intelligence to determine just what to stuff our your mailboxes.  Additionally, Google’s use of the assistant analogy is flawed in that assistants are on the payroll, are authorized by the person they serve, and often act on behalf of them.

The Bottom Line

Google’s Terms of Service are clear, they are what they are, and we still CHOOSE to use Google’s Services.  While we may not like the true price we pay for the convenience of Google’s Gmail and other services, they’re not concealing their actions.

Our recommendation, if you care about privacy, is that you choose an e-mail service with clear terms of service and that you pay to keep that service in business.  Operating & maintaining an e-mail service is costly and companies such as Google offset the cost by selling advertising.  By paying for the e-mail service, you are offsetting these costs for the provider and not resorting to advertising in order to receive the service.

Also, consider the CORE business of your e-mail provider.  If it is anything other than providing Information Technology services, you may be compromising your privacy to improve THEIR bottom line.  Is your business worth that risk?

DataCorps provides Hosted Microsoft Exchange services that are truly private, not ad supported, and have your business security and privacy at the core of our offering.  We also do not resell someone else’s offering – DataCorps owns and operates its equipment and houses it at a top-tier data center to ensure maximum protection, availability, and security.  All of our system accesses are audited and comply with regulations such as HIPAA, SOX, and GLB.

If you have something that you don’t want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it in the first place.

– Eric Schmidt, former Google CEO (statement made on video with CNBC)