The historic David was a young shepherd in a confrontation with a nine and a half foot behemoth. Today’s courts are battlefield to a modern David (our educational system) locked in combat with a new Goliath (Google). And like the traditional account, the current entanglement has important lessons to teach. Today’s, however, are about the value of emails. Let’s take a closer look at the situation that prompted such a battle of wills, as well as what value we can glean from it.
Google has been “called out”, as it were, by our educational system. It appears that the “free” suite of programs given to schools and students under the guise of Google Apps for Education was, in part, a ruse to tighten their ever-expanding advertising grip. It was discovered that they were using Gmail (Google’s free email product) to data mine student’s emails for advertising purposes. This was taking place regardless, or in spite of, allegedly lacking the consent or knowledge of student or school. The California class action lawsuit is the stone hurled by the educational system at its Goliath.
So what lessons lie for us on this battlefield where the weapons are communication and technology?
One thing that comes to the fore is the testimony given to the importance of emails. This import is exemplified not only in communication, but also in its role as documentation, as an unseen witness. Not only are the records vital for the damning evidence that they provide, but also, obviously, to the Giant as a revenue-generator. This is evidenced by the fact that this Goliath won’t fall to a single stone, but instead continues to fight for their right to do so, claiming that consent is “implied” by the public nature of their data mining practices!
Another clear theme we see being played out here is the increasing value of email security. The outrage shown by both the larger schools and the end users students at this alleged injustice reveals an unamendable breach in trust. No one can doubt the dire need in our society for a sense of security and trust in our electronic dealings. We need to believe that the words we express in our sent box are secure. It is only in such security that we can develop the trust that is so sorely missing in our new, smaller, world.
The David we find before us today fights for the security and privacy of our children. The Goliath we see is determined to defend its democratic right to embrace business practices that it helped to create. Regardless of which side of this epic struggle you find yourself, there are lessons for all of us. We must value our emails. It is only by showing the importance of our communication in the steps that we take to protect its security, while protecting the fertile market in which it is so intimately tied, that we can have a real hope for the future.
Contact us today to protect the value of your emails.