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Monday, November 08, 2004
Google Says "We Don't Snoop"
In response to the report that Google was banning accounts that had cracks and other illegal software stored in them, Google spokesperson Nathan Tyler emailed me back and said:

Hi there Nathan, great to hear from you. We've been enjoying your blog very much these days.

As for the question: "Does Gmail scan email for illegal programs?" The answer is no we do not. I'm not sure what the details are with this specific user and why and whether the account was discontinued - we don't have his gmail address. Either way, our terms of service would keep me from talking about the details of any individual account.

And yes, I had to leave in the bit about enjoying my blog. I do so very much love recognition. As for the story, it is only one report, and considering we'd have to be dealing with a keyword scanner, if this story were true, I'd assume there'd be more reports. I'm filing this in the "uncorroborated and likely false" pile.

Nathan, I saw that article yesterday too. But it had comments attached to it. Cannot seem to find it now.

The comments were about the Darknest character who had originally made this claim. The people who commented did not believe him. They used some pretty colorful words to describe what they thought of him as well.

I think this guy is just some kid making up a story of some sort. Don't know the reason why or if he actually had his account removed or not.

I have not seen any rumblings in the Gmail groups about this at all. It is, like you said, an uncorroborated story with no basis in fact.
Of course GMail snoops. And AOL IM. And Yahoo IM. And Hotmail. Etc. If they don't snoop for their own purposes, of course the CIA has muscled them into allowing the CIA to snoop.

But there's no way they'd tip their hands by simply terminating the account. That would be just too obvious.

It's far more likely that they'd just make a note of the user's illegal content for future reference. What would they use this for? I don't have any ideas, myself.
Notice how they did not comment on Google actually being a front for the CIA. Hmm....
Ha! Don't blow their cover! :-)
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