back to article Google spews out 'privacy' email to Sky punters too

Sky users have joined Virgin Media subscribers in receiving emails directly from Google about its new privacy policy. Sky customers received the email from the Chocolate Factory warning them about the controversial changes to its privacy policy, which was quickly followed by an email from Sky about the error. "We understand …


This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Question for Google

    A particular user may have a half-dozen gmail addresses to keep various activities separated and to ensure privacy. Is Google going to do anything stupid to suddenly and publically link all these e-mail addresses to each other? What about blogs - will they all suddenly be publically linked back to the meat machine responsible for them?

    Their FAQ is silent on this type of obvious and fundamental question. FAIL.

    Time to move my blogs to Wordpress.

    1. Paul RND*1000

      "A particular user may have a half-dozen gmail addresses to keep various activities separated and to ensure privacy."

      Anyone involving a Gmail address with anything where privacy is called for is just asking for trouble. I use Gmail for my main email (which is largely dull and boring), but if I needed a second email with actual privacy expectations, I'd stay well away from it.

      "Is Google going to do anything stupid"

      History would suggest "yes".

      "suddenly and publically link all these e-mail addresses [and blogs] to each other"

      I certainly wouldn't rely on them not doing so, extradoubleplus so if my reputation or life depended on them staying unconnected.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      This can give you an idea

      A well known anti evolution and anti anti Semitic freak somehow (!) managed to convince a Turkish Court and they ordered google property youtube to give all details of comments under a youtube video.

      As result, 50 guys& gals homes raided by Turkish police in the middle of the night.

      Never heard in IT media did you?

      1. Michael Hutchinson
        IT Angle

        @Turkish AC. Source, or it didn't happen...

  2. Drew V.
    Thumb Up

    In one way, these emails are useful

    I abandoned Gmail some time ago in favor of Fastmail, which is based in Australia (though bought by Opera) and has superior privacy policies. I now have a payed subscription account that allows me create up to 50 aliases for my core email, with many different domain names to choose from. So the habit I spontaneously developed is: whenever an alias begins to attract spam or becomes compromised in some other way, it gets deleted and if necessary replaced with a new alias.

    The Chocolate Factory Spew mail arrived twice, for two of these aliases (one of them is an especially puzzling case because there is no obvious link to Google). But that makes it useful feedback because it tells me that it's time to delete those aliases.

    Anyway, if you're willing to pay a modest yearly subscription fee, Fastmail is a dream. Never going back...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I'm looking for Google Mail alternatives for my domain as well.

      Can anyone recommend a good service ideally with ActiveSync to support push mail?


      1. Drew V.

        Courtesy of a thread discussing alternatives to Fastmail would seem that PolarisMail and IbisMail would fit the bill. I have no idea how reliable they are, however.

  3. John I'm only dancing

    All data is ours

    The other evil empire gets more evil.

  4. b166er

    AC 12:34 How about Office365?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Thanks, I've signed up for the free trial and it's looking like the best option. If only the webmail side didn't look (and behaved) so dated I would purchase it right away.

      Why can't MS make it better, it looks the same as when I was back in Uni (10 years ago?). Aren't they supposed to be all about HTML5 nowadays...

      Anyway gripe aside cheers for pointing it out.

  5. Number6


    Interestingly enough, my system decide that the email sent to my VM email was spam and bounced it, but let through the one to the address I use for my occasional Google adventures.

  6. Alex Norcliffe

    Sky & Virgin mail stored outside EU?

    Would be good to get both UK-focussed companies to clarify whether their mail is stored outside the EU since it's outsourced to Google. Certainly since the mail is outsourced to a US company their mail is subject to Patriot Act disclosure, although Sky is owned by a US outfit anyway but doubt that is made clear and apparent to UK sign-ups.

    1. DJ Smiley

      Or maybe the data protection laws need updating to understand that data cannot be physically "placed" anywhere within simple means

      If your using Google Apps to handle your mail '(which is what it seems Virgin and Sky are doing) - I have done this myself - then any mail on its way to you, will at least have to query the google servers, which while they can be anywhere in the world, you might as well consider them to be in america.

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      VM is also a US owned. Virginmeda is a name licensed Virgin Holdings. VM is actually NTL:Telewest. Most of the board are US citizens and it trades on the US stock exchange.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So they...

    mis-classify Google Apps users as admins, they send emails to 3rd party accounts they shouldn't of.

    And we (as a people) constantly are told we should move everything to the "cloud".

    This time an email, next time your medical records?

    1. DAN*tastik


      Before moving everything to the "cloud" take some time to go back to primary school.

      Really, moderators, please please please start filtering out comments which contain "of" instead of "have".

      Or just disable the Preview and Submit buttons to save yourselves the time to go through those cringing posts

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        Having said that, its not like posts from people who we're not paying attention when the teacher was explaining apostrophe's are any less irritating.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "All Google literally has is an email address that they provision to us."

    It seems that not many people rememberance how to write.

    1. Drew V.

      There is a pap for that.

    2. David Schmidt


      I am disappointment in your grammar.

    3. Ilgaz

      I know why

      That apology post must also have been written elsewhere, outsourced ;)

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    VM and Google

    "A Virgin Media spokesperson ... confirmed that Virgin Media's privacy policy superseded Google's so customers would not be affected by the changes".

    I've had emails from Google for most, but not all, of my outsourced VM accounts, but have heard absolutely zip from VM.

    Mind you; nothing is preferable to yet another "Hey You!" letter telling me they are putting prices up or reducing services for my own good and I will be delighted with that.

    VM are as useless as ever, trying to have their cake and eat it with regards to their outsourcing to Google. Email is a fundamental ISP service and Google's service for VM is second rate, prohibiting some types of attachments, and who knows what data protection laws apply and where the data is stored. It wouldn't surprise me if Google are trawling all VM emails which pass through their system, even storing that for when trawling techniques get better in the future. VM don't seem to know and, worse, don't seem to care. The left hand never appears to know what the right hand is doing.

    Don't be evil and don't associate with evil.

    1. DJ Smiley

      And don't buy from evil?

      While I love bashing companies, I'm quite fond of VM. They've done well by me (but I run my own mailservers so this latest thing hasn't been an issue for myself).

      I find it amusing that someone can say a company is so evil and must be defeated at all costs, yet please don't stop my internet as I need it so badly in the same sentence.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    let me think about this

    "A Virgin Media spokesperson ... confirmed that Virgin Media's privacy policy superseded Google's so customers would not be affected by the changes".

    except it doesn't because if google decide to block an attachment then the attachment gets blocked and VM update their website to agree with google. VM are customers of google and are bound by their terms and conditions, therefore by association, VM customers are also bound by the same terms and conditions. I stopped using my Virgin email account the instant I found that they were using google.

  11. Ian Michael Gumby


    ""All Google literally has is an email address that they provision to us," he said, adding that the firm needed to know these addresses so it could allocate storage to each address."

    So what they are saying is that Google has to access storage which of course gives them access to mine your e-mail for other e-mail addresses and information about you.

    Essentially Google and other companies like Facebook laugh at the idea of privacy and anonymity when surfing the web.

  12. Stevie


    So encrypt your gmail. Let them scrape the bugger and get gibberish.

    This whole "personalization" thing is a big Orwellian to my mind. Driven by retail marketing in the first instance it insidiously ensures that people never move outside their comfort zone by never seeing anything new.

    Imagine what will happen when electioneering goes interwebby big time.

    Security by obscurity may not be foolproof, but it's hard to break through a veil of secrecy you don't even know is there.

    Even worse is the idea being promoted by Google honchos that what they have is "information" about people. What they actually have is data (pluralize that to your taste). The two are not equivalent, as a quick rummage through your My Amazon recommendations should prove.

    Wouldn't it be funny if the country were brought to its knees not by economics or invasion but by incompetent data scraping and attempts to invest that with meaning?

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    dont worry google isnt tracking you

    they're just keeping records of everything you do that's all. and if they should happen to give the records to the police every day, who cares right?

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Alternatives to gmail

    Far from free, but has everybody forgotten the idea of having their own domain, and either hosting their own mail server or getting their ISP to do it for them?

  15. Graham Marsden
    Big Brother

    This is the future, get used to it...

    Given half a chance, Google are going to be linking *all* those e-mail addresses and all the e-mails and everything that you do with them together.

    Kiss goodbye to your privacy.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I have just received one of these emails on my BTOpenworld account which is supposedly run by Yahoo! WTF??

    1. Drew V.

      You have used your email address to register on a website that was using Google Apps or cooperating with Google in some other way...

  17. Mr BMD

    E-mail sent to my own domain!

    I've just received one of these to an account on a domain that is registered to me.

    How did Google get this e-mail address?

    1. richard 7

      Same here...

      In fact multiple copies to several forwards and other domains we use.

      ""If an enterprise organisation uses Google Apps to provide email to its own employees or customers, Google is contacting only the administrator at that organisation because it has a contract that defines how we handle and store their data," the spokesperson said."

      And which I call bullshit on. One of the domains I've had them on is used for Google apps and every single account has had an email.

      "Due to a glitch in our system, we misclassified all non google email accounts as consumer Gmail accounts and mistakenly sent these users email notifications about the Privacy Policy."

      There all fixed ...

  18. spellucci

    Apple next?

    I can't wait for Apple email addresses to start getting these privacy notices.

  19. Anonymous Coward

    hate to admit it...

    .. but my Gmail account, now reaching 8 years old and therefore the oldest active email account I've got, has some stuff in it I wouldn't want out in the wild.

    I started with the simple principal that I would *never* use my Gmail account for stuff that matters, alas, over the years, necessity, lax security practices and downright laziness have got me to a position where there's at least 3 accounts I would feel pain from should they be compromised, or should my gmail account, for whatever reason, be axed.

    I can still act on this - but hell on earth, I'd need to trawl through a good 6 years of emails to find out exactly how much of a total numpty I've been.

    I doubt I'm alone in this.

    Hear me out here, it's not like I've got my frikkin' bank account details on gmail, but I do have login details of a few online services I use a great deal lurking about in my inbox.

    Not good. Not a train smash, but still not good.

    So yeah, this privacy deal that Google is punting about right now makes me paranoid - heck, I've been paranoid about it for years, maybe time to sort it out ... can the gmail account, move the accounts, go private ...

    About time I remembered that with email, DIY is the best option..

  20. Unlimited

    spam filter + conversation threading

    Are there any self hosted solutions that even come close to gmail in these regards?

    After getting sick of roundcube updates breaking I'm back to squirrel mail ( yeah i know, but it works ), and MailProtect.

  21. Simple Simon


    It's fashionable to outsource to the cloud. But you pay the price.

    We stubbornly refuse to do so, and run our own mail server. We enjoy all the benefits that the cloud providers offer, with push syncing to iToys, Androids and desktop apps, webmail, and infinite storage. And the cost really is minimal.

    But crucially, we control the data. For us therefore, it's a no-brainer.

  22. Werner McGoole

    Spam spam spam...

    My Google privacy email message came to the account I reserve for junk use, expecting it to get spammed, and not to any of my other accounts.

    I think Google knows that email address because I've used the account to pay for things through Google (I'd have used that account because I don't trust Google, with good cause as it turns out). So I'm not altogether sure they've blindly spammed all their addresses.

    OTOH, maybe they tried to be smart and targeted the account with the most traffic (i.e. spam).

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Someone once said

    If you pay for it you are the consumer.

    If it is free, you have to believe you are the one being consumed. Quid pro quo.

    It's not rocket science folks...

    1. Mr Young

      I prefer rocket science thanks

      Hasn't the consumer paid a subscription to Sky or Virgin? This includes an email service as part of being an ISP, yes? The problem seems to be that data has been compromised because it has been subcontracted to a 3rd party? What the hell do I know anyway!

  24. ElReg!comments!Pierre

    Got that notice...

    ...on a Yahoo addy!

    Now THAT's irony!

This topic is closed for new posts.

Other stories you might like