Friday, January 10, 2014

Has Google gone too far by sending people to jail?


Google+ notifications are convenient for some. An alert automatically goes out to your friends with an invite for Google+.  Google does the work for you, so you don’t have to, right?

Some are calling this “convenience” a worst case scenario for a Massachusetts man that was jailed for an email invitation to his ex-girlfriend who put a restraining order on him.

Thomas Gagnon is saying he did not send this invitation to his ex-girlfriend, which he ended up in jail for. Police arrested him with a $500 bail.

When Gagnon’s ex-girlfriend received the invitation, she went to the police to complain that Gagnon violated his restraining order by sending her the email.

Microsoft attacks Google

A hearing for this case has been sent on Feburary 6, 2014. Gagnon’s attorney, Neil Hourihan, told the media his client has no idea how the invitation got sent.

ABC News has tried to contact both Hourihan and Gagnon but has not been successful.

Attorney Bradley Shear of Bethesda, Md., told ABC News it is likely Gagnon is telling the truth. If he didn’t send the invitation to his ex-girlfriend, Google could face a major liability for sending the invite without his permission.

Google+ allows users to connect their email contacts into various groups like; school classmates, professional contacts, and personal friends. If one contact is moved to a certain group, it will trigger Google to send an email inviting them to join Google+.

Shear pointed out that a Google product forum from 2011 and 2012 titled “Prevent automatic email invitations to Google+?” that involved many angry complaints by Google+ users about the automatic invitation feature.

One customer wrote:
“As soon as I add an email to a circle, Google seems to send an email automatically asking that person to join Google Plus. Is there any way of turning this off? I don’t want Google to send any email on my behalf without my permission. At least I would expect some sort of warning.”

Gmail practices

Google is making a case that Gmail practices do not violate privacy law.

Shear stated, “Google is going through every one of your contacts and sending them an invitation, weather its your doctor, your lawyer, your mistress, or your ex-fiancee who’s got a restraining order against you”.

This situation is a perfect example of what happens when a company oversteps its bounds.

What do you think about Gmail automatically sending out invites to your contact? Let us know what you think?

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Man Jailed for Gmail Invite to Ex-Girlfriend – Yahoo News–abc-news-topstories.html

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