Consumer Watchdog overreacts about Gmail

ConsumerWatchdog.org isn't too impressed with the way Gmail works -- they are convinced that Google isn't respecting the privacy of their users.

ConsumerWatchdog.org isn't too impressed with the way Gmail works -- they are convinced that Google isn't respecting the privacy of their users.

Click here to watch the video

Some things mentioned in the video may be concerning to some people, but everything mentioned can either be easily resolved yourself, or isn't something that normal people should spend any time worrying about. Let's discuss all the points that were put forth:

1) Gmail's Auto-Save feature is sending your messages over the wire in plain text without your knowledge. Just as they say, your message is definitely being sent to Google in plain-text format by default. Most people don't care about this happening, but for those that do, there's an option in your settings to enable SSL. Doing this resolves this issue, and make it impossible for anyone to sniff your packets.

2) Chrome Shortcuts remove all traces of a browser making Gmail look like a traditional Windows application. As a user, you can't tell if a website is using SSL when you are in this mode -- that means that there's no way to tell if the information you are sending over the wire is secure or not. This is true, but again, it's not that big of a deal? Before creating the shortcut, concerned users should be responsible enough to check if the website is using SSL.

3) Google reads your email so it can show you relevant ads. This one has been brought up before, and each time I hear it, I chuckle a bit. People speak of Google as an entity that has human emotion and comprehension, and will tell on you for saying something bad about someone. News flash, Google isn't a human -- messages Google reads aren't going to be spread around to your friends because of something embarrassing you said to someone. This is no privacy issue here -- sorry ConsumerWatchdog.

4) There is no way for someone who sends you a message to opt out of their messages being analyzed by Google. Are you serious? The point they tried to make was that the author of an incoming message does not know that their email will be opened by Google, and that the recipient will be advertised to according to the contents of the message.

The ConsumerWatchdog fails to understand that messages sent to a Gmail user do not belong to the sender, but the recipient. Once it leaves the outbox of the sender, they do not have control of their message anymore -- similar to how you lose control of a letter once it's been sent with snail mail.

If this is all they can come up with for privacy concerns, they must be pretty desperate for attention. What do you think about privacy in Gmail -- don't hold back! Let's hear your comments in the TalkBack!