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Re: gmail usage

On Wed, Jul 6, 2016 at 8:05 AM, John Newman <jnn@synfin.org> wrote:
> Do any gmail users (which I've noticed there a lot of on the list,
> as well as in real life, heh) feel at all threatened by what Google
> is doing with access to your entire mail stream? They've publicly
> stated users have no "reasonable expectation of privacy".

I assumed from the beginning that they'd examine everything that passed through their servers. "If you're not paying for it, you're not the customer, you're the product" has been Cypherpunks wisdom since forever.

Gmail has my main mail accounts, for various work, personal, and list stuff. I'm not too worried about privacy for this, as I don't put anything sensitive where outsiders can see it. (Though sometimes other people send sensitive info to my gmail accounts, which pisses me off.)

I have a couple non-gmail accounts for various purposes, but these are also free accounts and I assume no privacy there.

Formerly I ran email servers of my own. Let those slide mainly because keeping up with the patches and the spam was too time-consuming.

For anything I want to keep secure, I use encryption. I had been relying on encrypted email -- GPG on my end, usually a PGP mail client plugin on the other end. I'm getting away from that because certain email correspondents who are not me seem to have trouble with even the relatively-easy-to-use plugins. eg, one normally technically savvy guy kept sending me signed rather than encrypted messages containing very sensitive material, and another guy could not manage to send me an encrypted message that I could decrypt.

Lately I've been using non-email communications if I want to keep it private. A variant of a "send a message to this website's administrator" page, transmitted over SSL, is good enough for my purposes. It's not encrypted on my server and the response page is not encrypted on the recipient's computer, but at least it is (or should be) safe from casual snooping along the way.

None of the above is meant to be the definitive answer to private communications or to worries about snooping. So far as I know it works well enough for my expected threats. Suggestions for improvement are welcome.