Anti-Gmail = Anti-Email?

Found a posting over on Medley that mentioned an anti-Gmail site. I don’t have any concerns about Gmail myself, but I’ve been intrigued by people who wail about the bad things that will happen because of Gmail. I checked out the site and it appears to me that many of the concerns that people have about Gmail aren’t specific to that service.

One issue is they claim messages will exist indefinitely. They complain that Google will keep all messages, even deleted ones, which will remain accessible internally. Turns out they’re talking about backups of the mail system. Have these people never heard of backups before? Do they think Google is the only mail provider who makes backups of their mail system and actually keeps them around for a while? Do they think that when they delete a message it magically disappears from all backup media that contain that message?

They also complain about messages that are older than 180 days being subject to a subpoena instead of a warrant. Assuming this is true (which I have no reason to doubt), how is this specific to Google? Any mail system where people keep their mail on a server instead of on their local machine would be subject to the same rules. Are they implying that only Google provides enough space to have messages that are more than six months old? There are many systems out there that offer large mailboxes with some already jumping on the GB+ bandwagon (Spymac offers 1GB, and Aventure offers 2 GB!) We have messages that are seven years old on the mail system I manage at Olin.

In the end their solution is to simply not send messages to anyone with a address. I wonder if this person has ever heard of forwarding? When you send email to someone you have no idea where that message will ultimately wind up, where it is stored, or what the recipient does with it. At Washington University, alumni are now able to keep their addresses after they graduate. Mail sent to their address is forwarded to whatever external account they provide. So this person who said they would never send mail to Gmail users might send mail to someone with on their address, thinking they are safe, not knowing the message is being forwarded to a Gmail account. Hmm, maybe they better go back and rethink that plan.

The people behind the anti-Gmail site should really stop sending any email if these are things which truly concern them.