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Effects of "Anti-GMail" bill?

Apprently Google is working with the politician on the bill, which has been amended.
http://info.sen.ca.gov/cgi-bin/postquery?bill_number=sb_1822&sess=CUR&house=B&site=sen

The problem is still that the current version doesn't allow email providers to scan emails and store the results in anonymous, randomized form. But of course, it may be difficult for many businesses to truly anonymize data even if the algorithms exist, also it could be hard to enforce.

Then again, the bill allows user-initiated things like calendars. Maybe Google can incentivize users to allow Google to store more info; and the benefit is these users may be more receptive to ads anyway. Stores do this with "club cards."

How does this state bill affect the world outside California? Can Google simply ask if you're Californian?

Neither Google nor the gubbmint seem inclined to educate people on encryption. In this interview, a lobbyist explains, "In the long run, too much regulation favors large companies, not smaller ones. Once you bring Washington into technology, it's hard to get Washington to leave. It is probably better for the technology community to let the marketplace sort things out, and only look to government for very small, surgical tasks. We all know we don't want 'Technology at the speed of government'."
http://interviews.slashdot.org/interviews/03/08/01/1615232.shtml?tid=103&tid=123&tid=98&tid=99

But I'm a blank slate on this; privacy laws are important. Bad laws can be worse than no laws however...

Tayssir John Gabbour
Monday, May 31, 2004

I suspect Google will buckle.  They won't want to piss off the California legislature, and they were making conciliatory noises a bit back.

I hope they don't, and just refuse to serve California residents, or wait and take it to court, or something.  I really don't want 50 state legislatures trying to remake the whole internet in their own seperate idiotic visions.

Matt Conrad
Monday, May 31, 2004

Good lord. I've said it before, I'll say it again - gmail is an optional service from one of many vendors, and they state that they're scanning for targeted content up front.

It really doesn't get any more "freely contracted" than that. Yet California still wants to "protect" its citizens.

[sigh]

I'm glad the California legislature has nothing better to do.

Philo

Philo
Monday, May 31, 2004

Philo,
I agree with you that Gmail users know they are being scanned. I also agree with you that Gmail is an optional, free service. I further agree with you that it should be allowed and this legislation is ridiculous.

But, just because their users know its scanned and Gmail is optional, doesn't mean that John Doe from Idaho who sends email to Techno Geek's Gmail account  knows that what he just wrote will be scanned (nor did he approve of that). You could say "dont send to Gmail.com" and that would stop a lot of it, but it would also hamper email as a whole, and it doesn't stop all of it -- think about silly things like forwarders.

That's just me playing devil's advocate though - I really like Gmail and think the scanning is fine...

Ian

PS - no offense to anyone from Idaho; it was just an example! ;)

Ian Sefferman
Monday, May 31, 2004

"doesn't mean that John Doe from Idaho who sends email to Techno Geek's Gmail account  knows that what he just wrote will be scanned (nor did he approve of that)."

This is where you have to be very, very careful about the Law of Unintended Consequences. If that is the position, then neither did "Micro Racers, Inc" nor "Buy Viagra Now, Corp" know or approve that their email would be scanned by anti-spam measures.

More to the point, we'd have a good case against every member of Congress - I sent that email to Senator Doe, not his aide, nor his FBI whacko scanner, nor his bozo filter. [shrug]

When you *send* email, you don't get (nor should you get) many guarantees about what happens to it once it leaves your ISP. When you *get* email, you don't get many guarantees about what happened to it before it got to your ISP.

And that's alright with me. :)

Philo

Philo
Monday, May 31, 2004

How about this guy who surely didn't anticipate the result of his email:

http://www.canoe.ca/NewsStand/LondonFreePress/News/2004/05/29/477452.html

As an aside, I find this slippery slope to a police state absolutely horrifying - the guy sent a legal email which at most was offensive, and someone multiple levels of the police followed it through to executing a search warrant on his home. This story slipped through the cracks yet it represents one of the most heinous threats to freedom I've heard in some time.

Dennis Forbes
Monday, May 31, 2004

And the bill actually seems to specify GMail's datastructures. In that (b)1 part near the end, it seems to preclude advertising-related optimizations. It should focus more on saying what can't be done (like sharing with 3rd parties) and not dictate the broad scope of what can be. They've already got one foot in the door with the bill.

I would think that large parts of California have an interest in Google doing well... I don't think they've gone ipo yet.

Tayssir John Gabbour
Monday, May 31, 2004

Dennis,

When you get away from software topics you have a tendancy to go a little whacko.

You know absolutely nothing about the email in question. You know absolutely nothing about what further investigation the police may have done prior to requesting the search warrant.

In fact, you know absolutely nothing about the case other than that the contents of the email were not in themselves illegal, and yet you have somehow blown this into "one of the most heinous threats to freedom I've heard in some time".

Get a grip.

Eudoxus
Monday, May 31, 2004

Interesting summary. Could you please rehash what non-software "whacko" comments I've made? (Or is this just a demonstration of an ad hominem technique. BTW: I wish you'd stop advocating the beating of kittens you sicko). I'm very curious. In this case I found this intriguingly appropriately given comments about a sender's right to privacy (hint: There is none).

Having said that, perhaps you operate under the totalitarianist "only the priviledged few have a right to an opinion", however the best I have to work with is a cursory summary on a newswire. That summary is that a guy sent an offensive email that was in itself not illegal, but unexplainably the police decided to investigate it (that's the first disturbing fact - it should have immediately gone to the "not illegal" pile), and with no additional supporting justifications by the police (please help us understand what the media failed to mention) they searched the guy's home. Barring additional info, that is an absolute travesty.

Dennis Forbes
Monday, May 31, 2004

Hmm, a quick look at the senator's site shows she actually has the record on bills passed during her freshman year. Such people seem dangerous despite also doing good things. Bureaucracies start out well-intentioned, until you find you can't do anything.

Tayssir John Gabbour
Monday, May 31, 2004

Philo's lackadaisical attitude towards who reads his ommunications seems strange for a lawyer.

If somebody steamed open your letters in transit they would be risking a jail sentence, and the same goes for somebody who bugs your telelphone line.

Now against that it must be said the the American government and assorted lapdogs routinely attempt to eavesdrop on everybody and his dog, but thry're the guys who run the jails.

Stephen Jones
Monday, May 31, 2004

I can't see why you're so het up over this particular case Dennis. The police investigate all the time on the basis of suspicious behaviour, which is not in itself illegal.

They got a warrant and legally searched his house.

Stephen Jones
Monday, May 31, 2004

Stephen, Google has stated that their ad targeting is automated.  No human is going to be reading your mail with Gmail.

Matt Conrad
Monday, May 31, 2004

I wasn't referring to Gmail in particular. Philo basically was saying that he was quite happy for anybody to intercept his communications.

Stephen Jones
Monday, May 31, 2004

"Philo's lackadaisical attitude towards who reads his ommunications seems strange for a lawyer."

No, I care very much about who reads communications sent to me. I kinda care about who reads communications I send, but I have to be realistic that that is generally out of my control.

Let's take the traditional method - lawyer sends a sealed letter via US Mail to his client.

However, unbeknownst to the lawyer, the client has signed up for a service which opens his mail, pays his bills, throws away junk mail, and gives all personal and "other" correspondence to the client's secretary. The service gets my letter, opens it, and sends it to the FBI and Washington Post.

Have I, as an attorney, done anything wrong? Nope. The client may have an issue with his letter-opening service, but it's not my problem.

When you send a letter, you have no control whatsoever over what happens to it - the recipient can burn it unopened, post it on the bulletin board at work, or sell it to the highest bidder. The recipient can contract with a service to receive all his mail and prefilter it (this service exists for small businesses).

Faxes are the same way.

And so is email.

Philo

Philo
Monday, May 31, 2004

Email is like sending a postcard...  whomever processes your postcards (the post office, letter carrier, etc) can just flip it over to read it's contents.  If you want to have things slightly more secure, you put in an envelope.

Email can never be more secure than a postcard.  The best you can do is scramble the contents so that people who read it have no idea what it says (that is, encrypt it).

Almost Anonymous
Monday, May 31, 2004

It has been noted that if you actually follow the terms of service, you're not even allowed to check your mail with GMail.

email
Monday, May 31, 2004

"I can't see why you're so het up over this particular case Dennis"

I'm not sitting here brewing, but it seemed rather humorous, albeit frightening, in the context of email privacy. This is the sort of story that I want more information about.

"The police investigate all the time on the basis of suspicious behaviour, which is not in itself illegal."

The bar is raised quite a bit when the provincial police, headed by a provincial cabinet minister, have a private citizen raided as a result of him sending a critical letter to the party in power (as the police have stated, the timeline was "man sends angry letter to government...man raided", with the middle being unknown. I know nothing about the accused except that he legally owned registered handguns, which is actually EXTREMELY difficult to have in Canada, so he's obviously not a raving nut). Unlike Eudoxus I have to act based upon the information available, and I value freedom, so if it requires using a bit of hyperbole to make sure it gets some attention, so be it.

It should be noted that this touches a particularly soft point in Canada, as there is a multi-billion dollar boondoggle "gun registry" (I'm actually for the registry, or at least an efficient simile, so don't presume I'm an ESR gun nut) that has been contentious for a few years -- Gun owners fear that they'll immediately be presumed murderous villains everytime the police look up their name for whatever reason (such as "guy who sent angry letter")...

Dennis Forbes
Monday, May 31, 2004

...because murderous villains always register their legally-purchased guns. :-)

Based on what happened in Germany, the UK, and Australia, mandatory registration is simply to make seizure of all weapons easier.

Philo

Philo
Monday, May 31, 2004

"mandatory registration is simply to make seizure of all weapons easier.
"

and the sooner that happens, the better :)

<g> personally I believe that the total number of americans killed every year would drop drastically if only outlaws owned the damned things.

Guns Dont Kill People, People Armed With Guns Kill People.

Getting rid of people is too difficult and likely to meet with public resistance, so lets get rid of guns :)

FullNameRequired
Monday, May 31, 2004

What I don't understand is why everyone is for registering guns...  guns don't kill people, bullets kill people. 

Bullets are single-use only and they are required for operation of guns.  If we limited access to bullets, then we'd have less shootings.  Furthermore, gun collectors could continue to collect guns!  Those who have a gun for personal protection don't generally need alot of bullets.

Almost Anonymous
Monday, May 31, 2004

" Those who have a gun for personal protection don't generally need alot of bullets."

yea, but how many is too many?

or, to put it another way, through a series of amazing coincidences we do in fact have a gun in the house at the moment (not bloody happy about it either).
Along with this gun we have a relatively small number of bullets...approx 50 of them.

Im actually not a bad shot, as a kid we used to visit the farms of relatives a fair bit and I spent many a happy afternoon and night slaughtering rabbits and possums to my bloodthirsty contentment.

With 50 bullets, and the scope that comes with the gun I could (conservatively) expect to kill or injure somewhere between 10-30 people given the right conditions.

Given perfect conditions (large number of targets, plenty of time to take them down, no interruptions) I would be able to kill outright around 30-40 people, given terrible conditions I would expect to be able to kill or injure around 5 at minimum.

So how many are needed for protection?  5? (1 dead, 2 wounded) 10?  (1-2 dead, 5 wounded)  20? (2-4 dead, 7 wounded)

Final point, how many people are actually killed in self-defence?  compared to how many in anger?  which total should we be focused on reducing?


Its pretty much common sense:  Guns Make Killing Easy

or

Guns Dont Kill People, But They Do Make Killing Bloody Efficient, In Fact Thats Why They Were Invented And Why  They Are Still So Popular Today.

FullNameRequired
Monday, May 31, 2004

"and the sooner that happens [seizure of all weapons], the better :)"

We live in interesting times: you can make a statement like this without fear of being called on it, because anybody who uses the obvious retort fulfills Godwin's Law, and loses.  It's like nukes, huh?

adolf
Monday, May 31, 2004

"yea, but how many is too many?"

Fine.  Ban all bullets -- except for military and police use.  Pull them from the shelves at Kmart.  Eventually, everyone will run out of bullets and the world will be a safer place.

For hunters, I'd recommend learning how to shoot a bow-and-arrow -- probably be a more challenging too..

Almost Anonymous
Monday, May 31, 2004

"Fine.  Ban all bullets -- except for military and police use."

First you need to understand the *other* reason for the Second Amendment. Then you'll realize why this turns it on its head.

Philo

Philo
Monday, May 31, 2004

"because anybody who uses the obvious retort fulfills Godwin's Law, and loses."

<g> just because its obvious, doesn't mean its correct.

The argument that we need an armed citizenry to offset the chances of a governmental takeover is the strongest argument in favour of not outlawing guns IMO.
<g> I can almost be convinced of it myself.

But not quite, as recent times have shown we can lose control of our government regardless of the status of firearms in the country.
Or, to put it another way, IMO legislation such as the so-called Patriot Act and the DMCA is a _much_ bigger threat to our freedom here in america than the outlawing of guns would be.

If the government has openly seized control, guns may possibly be useful, but they are irrelevant in the real battle as it exists at the moment...thats the battle against the government legislating away freedom and privacy in the name of security.
As current events prove nicely, an intelligently run government doesn't need to be open about what its doing to seize control.....it just needs to be perfectly willing to lie to the populace about what the problems are in the first place.


All the guns in the world wont help when its illegal to say whats on your mind.

And if you can already say whats on your mind, you dont need all the damn guns :)

I subscribe to the "violence is the last refuge of the incompetent" mode of thought.....

FullNameRequired
Monday, May 31, 2004

Umm, before this became a gun issue, there was the Gmail thread going...

Anyhoo, I was pondering the notion of email that never went away.  Wouldn't it be a great thing if email were never anonymous, never expired (you could always look up stuff that you sent, or stuff sent to you)?

There would be no spam.

You would never receive a threat via email.

I was sort of thinking that one reason that Google might like to keep all correspondence using their service in archive, is that it would keep senders of odious email from using their system.  Merely one avenue of approach in keeping their system above board and discouraging users from using their system for sending anonymous threats and/or missives.

The more I thought about it, the more I liked it.

hoser
Monday, May 31, 2004

I would never, ever, ever use an email service that "promised" to archive everything I ever sent, forever.

Philo

Philo
Tuesday, June 01, 2004

"All the guns in the world wont help when its illegal to say whats on your mind.  And if you can already say whats on your mind, you dont need all the damn guns :)"

I dunno about that.  If that's true, and guns are inconsequential, then aren't we all just screwed?  (Or, isn't our entire freedom based on the whim of lobbyists and the politicians in DC they own, which is pretty much the same thing?)

politics is too important to be left to the politicians
Tuesday, June 01, 2004

"aren't we all just screwed?"

heh, to the pessimistic amongst us the answer is definitely yes.

Personally I find the greatest irony in the fact that, despite all its problems, the basic democratic structure in the US is perfectly capable of running a democracy.
Its failing (at least IMO its failing) because its citizens dont care enough to ensure it succeeds.

We are failing to hold our elected 'representatives' responsible.  We are failing to ensure that we understand the 'real' issues.
We are failing to punish politicians who lie to us.

basically its a huge and complex task running this country, so its easy for governments who are so inclined to slip through environmental laws that encourage the destruction of the environment and womens rights laws that limit the rights of women.

Our only job as citizens is to elect people who will tell us what they are trying to do openly and honestly, and allow us to decide whether that is what we want before we elect them.

instead of doing that we are electing dishonest, lying swine with all the moral righteousness of a sociopath on speed.

Why are all of our elected politicians and presidents members of the rich mans club?  why, in our great democracy, are we no longer capable of electing bald men?  or short men?  or women?

" isn't our entire freedom based on the whim of lobbyists and the politicians in DC they own"

yep, the idea is that we hire politicians who will want to push our POV instead of that of the lobbyists.

<shrug> we still have the chance of making things right, all it takes is for everyone to start believing their own minds instead of the crap that politicians speak.

FullNameRequired
Tuesday, June 01, 2004

I can't quite see the connection between freely having the means to kill folk and freely being able to email without it being read.

Personally, I'm unlikely to send mail to systems that reduce my rights.  That doesn't necessarily mean that I won't email to Gmail accounts.

Simon Lucy
Tuesday, June 01, 2004

Funny, normally email filters take out adverts, not put them in ;-)

How is a computer scanning emails to provide targeted ads different from a computer scanning emails to remove untargeted ads (i.e. spam)??

i like i
Tuesday, June 01, 2004

Look at that, my two favourite topics in one place :)

GMail: given the effort I expend in getting rid of ads in my email, why would I sign up for something to put them in?

Gun Control: We've managed to get rid of most of the large predators and/or severely reduce their ranges. This has led to a population explosion among certain prey animals. Given the limited number of people that see hunting as a valid activity, I think that guns may be necessary in the interests of efficiency. Maybe reducing the deer population would reduce the incidence of Lyme disease and highway traffic accidents. Controlling guns is not a bad thing, but that doesn't mean that eliminating or demonizing them is a good thing.

Ron Porter
Tuesday, June 01, 2004

"that doesn't mean that eliminating or demonizing them is a good thing."

I mostly agree.  Id never argue that farmers (for instance) should be forced to do without guns.  Id accept that professional hunters should be able to use guns.
<g> and that non-professional hunters should be able to at least rent the things to let them blow apart the heads of woodland creatures at will.

But, lets face it, there is _no_ reasonable argument for allowing a banker or a programmer to own their own arsenal. On the whole, the only people who should own guns and keep those guns in their houses are those who have reasonable use for them pretty often.

If you like target shooting, then you should be allowed to keep a gun at the range, but _not_ allowed to take it home.

and so on.

The bottom line is that guns (ok, ok, people armed with guns) kill >10000 people a year.

The kicker?  the majority of those deaths are not caused by Mad Bastard Drug Dealer Shooting Up His Competitors, they are caused by Enraged Programmer Being Cut Off By Asshole And Shooting Him Dead, or Jealous Banker Husband Coming Home And Wasting The Prick Who Is Petting His Cat.

allowing that to continue is just _stupid_

FullNameRequired
Tuesday, June 01, 2004

I was just playing with this site

http://webapp.cdc.gov/sasweb/ncipc/mortrate10_sy.html

and it seems that while there are 20,000 (over half gun related) homicides each year, there are 30,000 (again, half by gun) suicides each year.

Does anyone else find that disturbing?

Tony
Wednesday, June 02, 2004

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