Gmail Slammed By Citizen's Group

Gretchen Gallen
MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. – Only a week after its launch, Google's Gmail has already met with harsh criticism from European citizen's groups claiming that the free email service violates Europe's strict privacy laws, which protect consumer's rights to their own communications.

GMail, which launched on April 1 and comes with one gigabyte of free storage, not only poses a competitive risk to free software rivals Yahoo and Microsoft's MSN, but it also stores email messages in such a way that they can never be deleted. This, say concerned citizens, is an invasion of privacy.

A formal complaint has reportedly been filed by Privacy International with authorities in Britain over that fact that personal email will always remain on Google's servers and can therefore be used to collect personal information and data on specific users.

In addition to Google's non-delete policy, the search engine retains the right to use cookies, scan emails, and paste appropriate advertising into messages, says Reuters. Although Google claims that emails are only scanned by computers and are never accessed by Google employees.

"If a person deletes an email, he should be confident that email is actually deleted," said a representative for privacy group Bits of Freedom.