on 06-02-2012 02:00
I have taken some time to consider the somewhat perfunctory reply given by Mark Wilkin to the recent email from Google and would like some clarification, see undernoted.
Customer privacy and confidentiality are very important to us. Really? Virgin Media have previously considered integrating PHORM and Detica CView into their systems, so just how important is customer privacy and confidentiality to Virgin Media?
As you know Google provides the email platform on which our Virgin Media Mail service is run, but please be reassured that Google has no access to any personal, account or password information. It appears that Google does have access to email addresses, even though these addresses are @virgin.net, @virginmedia.com, @ntl.com etc. I assume Google also has access to IP addresses too, which is also PII. How did these email addresses become integrated with Google email addresses in the first instance? Why did Google think it appropriate to treat Virgin Media customers as Google account holders?
All Virgin Media mail accounts are encrypted which means Google cannot access any e-mail content, By default Google scans the content of emails for BTA purposes and to censor particular attachment types which may be considered harmful. This means that Google does have access to emails and attachments. Please advise how much access Google has to email content and attachments. Who applies the encryption and what encryption methods are used? At which point is encryption applied? Are emails encrypted during transmission or only after storage on the Google servers? As Google servers are being used for email data storage, is the stored data subject to the US Patriot Act? What assurances can Virgin Media provide that customers data is really safe, secure and kept confidential? and we can also confirm that the new Google Privacy terms do not apply to our users of Virgin Media Mail. Small consolation in light of other potential issues.
It’s worth noting that, if you're using another of Google's services (Google Apps, YouTube etc) and have registered for those services using your Virgin Media email address, then the new Google Privacy terms will be relevant to you for those services you've signed up for and you may receive other emails. Will Virgin Media confirm that a Virgin Media provided email address will not be associated with other, separate Google accounts held by a VM customer, particularly when a VM email address is used for account verification? If this situation does arise, what steps, if any, will Virgin Media be able to take to rectify it?
We appreciate the email you received could have been confusing and are working with Google to ensure this doesn't happen again. There is no "could" about it. The Google sent email "is" confusing, incorrect, misleading and inappropriate. When you say you are "working with Google to ensure this doesn't happen again" do you mean Google will not confuse Virgin Media customers with VM customers, or Google will not send out incorrect, misleading and inappropriate emails?
on 11-02-2012 07:34
on 11-02-2012 09:25
No it wasn't.
I see nothing regarding how VM customer email addresses became integrated within a Google customer database.
Nor why Google thought it appropriate to bulk email VM customers with irrelevant Terms and Conditions.
No answer as to how much access Google have to email content or attachments.
No answer as to when, and by whom encryption is applied, nor whether the data held on Google servers is subject to the US Patriot Act.
If you take the time to actually read the original post you will see that none of these points, nor others raised, have been answered.
on 21-02-2012 14:41
on 03-03-2012 20:27