Above: things were simpler back then. Now it’s “I’ll sue you for this, I’ll sue you for that, waah waah waaaahhhh”, or you get shot/knifed or punched in the face – well done, humanity, well done.
What really annoys me about the state of the United States, and increasingly the UK and, well, most of the world these days, is how easy it is to sue big mega corporations (or even individuals in some cases) if one fails to read or understand the terms and conditions of service OR how a particular part of that service operates.
Take Gmail, Google’s popular free email service. A bunch of people and educational establishments are suing Google for compensation because of how it scans email in order to deliver contextual adverts which ultimately pay for the upkeep of the service. Google has been a search and advertising company since the reasonably early commercial days of the internet. It has, to my knowledge, always been upfront about the adverts it serves in email along with how it goes about doing so.
If I had ANY doubts about what Google does with my data, I’d have stopped using them years ago. What annoys me most about Google is how they change things without bothering to check with users first (it’s all about statistics for them, and funnily enough, they’re a statistical company too). But Google Apps (for Business at least) is still a very good product and meets my own personal needs. They seem to be meeting a lot of other people and organisations needs too – and they haven’t sued Google (yet)! Google aren’t really a people company, they are all about features and functionality.
Technicalities of the case aside, if these people who are suing Google actually gave a damn about privacy alongside everything else that comes from a FREE email service – they’d have been better off not spending their money on lawyers and putting it towards their own email infrastructure instead – hosted their email on their wholly owned dedicated or virtual servers in their wholly owned datacentres, and in a country of their own choosing.
What’s that I hear? It’s incredibly expensive to own loads of dedicated servers and datacentres? Why, yes, it is. So you’re going to have to trust somebody. And you need to do a lot of research before you can do that. You do not just hand over a bunch of cash, say, here: have my data, and expect everything to be peachy keen.
I wonder what the educational establishments in this class action considered prior to signing up to Google Apps for Education. Did they trial the service at all (Google have always offered dual deployment/pilot schemes since launching the service)? Did they ask the right questions to Google? These people are keen on saving money (as are we all), but surely if they wanted to be absolutely sure of their data security, they’d have handled any email in-house or at least done more research about the company that’s about to host their data before committing to it.
I really think that it’s yet another case of too much money alongside too little brains. It really angers me that human beings and organisations can be so [censored] petty and stupid at times that they need to keep suing each other out of fear or misunderstanding of what they’re trying to do. And if mistakes happen, as they do from time to time, it doesn’t mean you need to hit people with expensive lawsuits to fix the problem.
You may think I’m being overly harsh, but the point is that it seems far too so easy to sue. Don’t get me started on the whole patents issue because that’ll fill up several War and Peace-sized novels.
The Golgafrinchans were right to send their telephone sanitizers, documentary makers and other useless members of society to another planet. Perhaps the USA and California should do the same. Less lawyers, more sanity, better understand of what it is you’re using. And if you don’t like it or what it represents, don’t bloody use it.
The overall moral of the story: if you really care about YOUR data and your privacy, DIY it.
There are obviously some
exceptions to this, but not many. The above situation is, in my opinion, utterly frivolous. 
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy; Douglas Adams – a most enlightening and amusing series of books.