Storm erupts over Google+ e-mail policy

2014-01-10 12:31
Google+ is a year old and growing faster than rivals at the same stage. (Duncan Alfreds, News24, file)

Google+ is a year old and growing faster than rivals at the same stage. (Duncan Alfreds, News24, file)

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Cape Town - A storm has erupted among privacy advocates about a new feature on Google+ social network that lets people you don't know send e-mails to your Gmail account.

According to report on the Los Angeles Times website, Electronic Privacy Information Centre questioned whether Google's new policy violated its agreement with the US Federal Trade Commission after the search giant was fined over a similar policy related to its Buzz social network.

Google, in launching the feature said that privacy was taken into account to ensure that e-mail addresses were distributed to people who don't know you.

"Your e-mail address isn't visible to a Google+ connection unless you send that person an e-mail, and likewise, that person's e-mail address isn't visible to you unless they send you an e-mail," wrote David Nachum, Google product manager on the official Google blog.

He added that if you do not respond to the unsolicited e-mail, Google will prevent any messages. Also, messages sent from users not in your circles will be filtered to the Social category in your Gmail inbox.

However, not everybody is convinced that personal information will be respected and Marc Rotenberg of the Electronic Privacy Information Centre said that the feature should be an opt-in, rather than be enabled by default.

To disable it, you need to check the settings in your Gmail account by checking No one under the relevant tab.

Facebook has long had a policy where anyone on the social network can send you a message and the globally popular social network has also rolled out an e-mail service.
- News24

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