Google's privacy dilemma and Mac takes on Windows: IT Pro web comment roundup


Privacy has been the keyword this week on IT Pro as it has over much of the summer. Google and little known firm Renew have been on the receiving end of some harsh words. The comments also continue to flow in on the Windows 8.1 vs Mac OS X head-to-head with readers picking a clear favourite.

Google justifies its ogling

Google could see its user-base plunge after a filing containing it's response to a privacy class-action lawsuit was published. The web giant controversially claimed that a person who uses its Gmail has "no legitimate expectation of privacy."

"Just as a sender of a letter to a business colleague cannot be surprised that the recipient's assistant opens the letter, people who use web-based email today cannot be surprised if their communications are processed by the recipient's [electronic communications service] provider in the course of delivery," Google claimed.

IT Pro readers flocked to the comments section to challenge the web giant's justification for snooping on emails.

"Sorry, but unless the colleague has either given permission or instructions to the assistant then that assistant is technically guilty of a criminal offence - Interference with Her Majesty's Mail," explained Jaykprime.

"Personally I regard emails that I send out as being private between me and the addressee(s). I do not give Google, or anyone else, permission to interfere with them in any way."

A frustrated Alan went one step further claiming that he was done with Gmail for good.

"I shall definitely stop using my Gmail account from now on. I don't see how Google can justify it with such an excuse," he claimed.

Meanwhile, Simon Nicholls took a more measured approach, asking whether Google also scans information from its other services.

"It opens up a whole other can of worms in relationship to other Google services like Calendar and Drive. Is Google scanning my appointments? Are it scanning the documents I have stored? I have an Android phone, but now I'm wondering whether to change all of these next time I upgrade if this is the baggage it comes with," he pondered.

London rubbish bins tracking users

IT Pro readers have also been unimpressed to learn about 200 "smart rubbish bins" dotted around London, which are collecting the information from smartphones with pass by without user permission.

A reader simply known as Me, showed some entrepreneurial flair when they suggested a novel business idea to work around the problem.

"How about an app that keeps an updated list of all the advertisers that make use of 'smart bin' technology so that people like me can avoid buying their products and services?"

David came across as a tad melodramatic when he claimed that the UK is becoming worse that China because of tracking.

"I for one do not wish to see any adverts pushed to my phone, and surely I have the right to shop where I like, and not have rival companies notified. This needs to be stopped in its tracks," he complained.

Reader Aaaashy pulled no punches in calling for the arrest of Renew CEO Kaveh Memari, claiming that the chief was breaking the Data Protection Act, claiming that "it might put off future lawbreakers."

Mac OS X > Windows?

Meanwhile, the battle between Windows and Mac fans rages on in the comments section of over head-to-head. It appears that Mac is the fan-favourite according to readers.

"I was a hard core windows fan, I put up with its niggles and tantrums, until I bought an old MacBook Pro running lion which to this day has never frozen, stopped responding or played up in any way," John reminisced.

"I also disagree that the Windows GUI is better than OSX, I felt the Windows was going downhill after XP."

Henry3dogg who's becoming a regular our roundups theorised that Microsoft's foundations are built on sand, but did offer up a compromise.

"I still have to run Windows to test and support applications. But I only ever run Windows under VMware, generally on a Mac, and keep all of the Windows' applications data directly in the Mac filing system. That way, whenever Windows gets screwed up, I just roll it back and lose nothing.

"Microsoft is built on foundations of sand. Once decent wave and the whole thing will vanish forever."

There were a couple of folks still loyal to Redmond's OS. Most vocal was Optimaximal.

"Can people legitimately say OSX has the better UI when you consider it too is a clusterf*ck of the legacy (Finder) and the nouveau (Launchpad)? The only difference is Apple aren't instigating a shift to the new stuff (yet)," they politely explained.

Khidr Suleman is the Technical Editor at IT Pro, a role he has fulfilled since March 2012. He is responsible for the reviews section on the site  - so get in touch if you have a product you think might be of interest to the business world. He also covers the hardware and operating systems beats. Prior to joining IT Pro, Khidr worked as a reporter at Incisive Media. He studied law at the University of Reading and completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Magazine Journalism and Online Writing at PMA Training.