General discussion


Does Gmail mean the end of private e-mail?

By MaryWeilage Editor ·
What's your take on Gmail, Google's new e-mail offering? Do you feel the privacy concerns are well-founded? Do you think companies should discourage employees from using Gmail? Share your comments about the potential of Google's Gmail, as discussed in the June 7 Internet Security Focus e-newsletter.

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Not for the general public

by keyguy13 In reply to Launch date...

You can't get a GMAIL account yet...

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still in beta

by pertelote In reply to Not for the general publi ...

Actually, you can get a GMAIL account now. It is by invitation only. I have one and so do several of my friends. As has been stated email is never private, this is just a fun toy for me not a serious work tool.

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by Novice008 In reply to Does Gmail mean the end o ...

I agree with Jonathan Yarden, it is your choice wither you want more junk coming with your emails. As to company discouraging people, just make sure the users know what there getting into, since some don?t read thing carefully, they see FREE and its ?Oh cool lets sign up? click though everything until done. By the way, does Gmail only scan the incoming mail? What about outgoing? Are non-Gmail users going to get a taste of the ads as well?

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Gmail and HIPAA

by k_stocker In reply to Does Gmail mean the end o ...

What concerns me the most about Google scanning the email for content is how it is going to be affected by HIPAA. If a patient requests their medical or billing records be sent by email (we already do this to a certain extent), are we going to be violating HIPAA rules of any kind? Especially since right up front, Google is saying that they will be data mining. There are a lot of people out there who will just look at it as a "Free" service and get extremely upset if we have to say, "Sorry, HIPAA regulations will not allow us to send that information to you."

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by Larry the Security Guy In reply to Gmail and HIPAA

<quote>There are a lot of people out there who will just look at it as a "Free" service and get extremely upset if we have to say, "Sorry, HIPAA regulations will not allow us to send that information to you."

I'm not a HIPPA expert, but my company does comply with the financial industry equivalent. We developed an official position that protects records and prohibits delivery by email or fax. When someone requests such a distribution, we send them an educational packet and remind them that we cannot oblige them and explains why.

You might want to invite a HIPPA or JHCAO expert to your next board or management meeting to discuss the potential issues and develop your own official position and policy.

Yes, you will upset most of your GMAIL-attached patients, but so long as you are consistent with the policy and your education materials are effective, the complaints will ebb. The only patients that will continue to complain are those that complain anyway.

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I would have to agree.......

by bdulac In reply to HIPPA and GMAIL

Larry has a point. I'll even take it a step further. If you're sending medical records through e-mail be careful. I support several doctors and medical groups and understand enough about HIPPA to realize that sending med. records through e-mail is just asking for trouble.

I would never reccomend sending personal and/or medical information over the Internet through e-mail. It's just not secure at all unless you use some form of encryption. I'm not sure exactly of HIPPA's stance on this but it would be worth looking into.

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There are better ways...

by jeffs In reply to I would have to agree.... ...

I don't understand why it's not generally accepted that sending any amount of account information, let alone something as serious as medical information, in email is just a bad idea. Some companies have found better, more secure ways; such as providing a link in an email to a site that will offer the information over https. The company's server can then control exactly how the information is being accessed, and will have a log of who has been accessing it. Just seems to make sense all around.

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HIPAA Reg's permit it as long as its encrypted

by JimHM In reply to HIPPA and GMAIL

HIPAA regs permit Email between Patient and provider or payer as long as that message is encrypted. Now there are many ways to encrypt messages - HIPAA recommends PKI but there are other methods out there that could be utilized.

If Gmail permits - encryption through PKI or an alternative encryption solution than you will not have any reg issues under HIPAA complaince.

Hope that helps

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by Armando_Diazdeleon In reply to Does Gmail mean the end o ...

Big deal, so Google will scan our email. Like the other postings, who's to say no one else (MSN, Hotmail, Yahoo) don't do this? They just won't admit it, or be honest with the users. Sometimes I'm sure it is stated in their disclaimers, but who really reads those? GMAIL is a choice and if you would like to have the 1GB of email storage, then that will be the price you pay. It beats the 10mb or 3mb other free email companies give you. If you don't want it, don't use it. If you something private you don't want others to read/scan, don't send it to a Gmail address. Simple as that! Geez, people make a big fuss about the little things sometimes, we have a choice!

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They are not data mining

by AlanGeek In reply to Does Gmail mean the end o ...

Contrary to what many people here have suggested, Google is not doing any data mining, which involves collection and analysis of data. They are also not going to be sticking ads in the middle of your mail.

Google's Gmail will only do a text scan of a message and display what it thinks are related ads, identical to the ads that show up on the right side of the page when you do a Google search. This will only appear on the reader's screen, and does not affect the message itself, nor any outgoing messages. They will not be generating any spam, nor subjecting you to spam, only minimal ads to the side of your screen. For a look at a sample page, go to and see how it will look.

The people who are all up in arms about this non-issue have clearly jumped to drastically faulty conclusions without bothering to examine any of the openly available information about the product.

Frankly, I think I'd trust Google a lot farther than I'd trust a lot of other vendors. They have stated exactly what they plan to do. Just because other vendors don't say they aren't scanning your mail doesn't mean that they aren't. For that matter, we've seen plenty of vendors that state plainly that they will not use any of your private information and then immediately do exactly what they said they wouldn't. Google's just catching flak because they said what they plan to do.

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