Problems with Comcast and switching to a new email address


#21

I didn’t switch my provider; Spectrum bought Time Warner Cable not long ago and they recently switched to what they claim is a more modern and advanced email system. It is truly a world of hurt. My problem is that the building I live in is limited to Spectrum and Verizon. Though I’m happy with Verizon mobile, everybody I know who switched to Verizon cable hated it so much they switched back and paid the penalty.


#22

When I started working in media fresh out of school about 45 years ago, I was amazed at the amount of information collected about individuals who subscribed to magazines and newspapers and how data was used for targeting. Cable, satellite and mobile technologies continue to accelerate the process exponentially. So I agree with this 100%.


#23

Google stopped delivering ads in Gmail; they never stopped scanning Gmail. They are still collecting, compiling and analyzing Gmail data and using it to more precisely target the ads and content they serve in their other products. Product personalization is their business, and we’re the product.

Artificial intelligence gets smarter about almost everyone all the time, and Google is a, if not the, leader in this field. This past July, about a year after the announcement, this hit the news:

Google tries to calm controversy over app developers having access to your Gmail:


(Al Varnell) #24

It’s already written by Consumer Reports and other consumer interest groups, based on what was already passed in California. Still need some tweaking, but not by social media.

-Al-


(Diane D) #25

99% of the time, I keep myself logged out of Google simply because I have multiple clients using gmail and am in and out of those often.

I am typically logged into Facebook though.

Something is certainly tracking my browsing based on the ads I get (using Safari), but at least they don’t follow me to client machines. I’ve seen that before, and figured they were times I’ve forgotten to log out of Google.

Diane


(Diane D) #26

I find it easier too, simply because I tend to forget to go to a website on a daily basis to read. If they come to my email, they are there even if I’m too busy to read, and when I get a few minutes I can quickly scan and processes them.

Diane


(Curtis Wilcox) #27

That’s not correct. As that that Verge article state, “while there are still ads in the consumer version of Gmail, those ads are no longer targeted based on the contents of emails.”

The controversy that the Verge was reblogging from a Wall Street Journal article was about third-party app developers being able to read your email. What the Verge fails to make clear is those developers will only have access to your gmail account if you use their third-party app with your account.

From the WSJ article: “outside software developers scan the inboxes of millions of Gmail users who signed up for email-based services offering shopping price comparisons, automated travel-itinerary planners or other tools. Google does little to police those developers, who train their computers—and, in some cases, employees—to read their users’ emails.” The article goes on to point out it’s specifically Google but any mail provider, Microsoft and Yahoo are also mentioned, that has an option for users to give third-party apps access to their email.


(Doug Miller) #28

Google definitely still shows ads in Gmail, but they are no longer personalized from scanning private email.

I see (and ignore) ads in Gmail every day.


(Adam Engst) #29

Your address was bouncing (again), which is why you stopped receiving the mail (again), and I’ve reenabled delivery for you (again). :slight_smile:

The fact that I have to clean up after all these stupid ISPs repeatedly is one reason I keep recommending that people use the Web interface to Discourse. Mailing lists are just brittle because you don’t have any control over what your ISP lets through or how they respond when they erroneously mark something you want as spam. This is partly why I prefer Gmail to iCloud. Gmail may mark messages as spam incorrectly sometimes, but when it does it, the messages get the Spam label. When iCloud identifies some things as spam incorrectly, it deletes them outright without ever showing them to the user.

None of this is Discourse’s fault in any way.

All that said, we’re switching from SendGrid to Sendy (and Amazon SES) soon to reduce the significant costs of sending a few hundred thousand messages per month, and I’m hoping that change may help. I have no reason to believe it will, but there’s always hope.


#30

ace
Adam Engst

    December 3

MMTalker:
I’ve been having the same problems on and off with Discourse. After a few weeks or days of receiving TidBITS emails, I just stop getting them and have to ask to be reinstated. I find it much easier and more convenient to read and reply to TidBITS and Talk in Mail. It just started happening again a few days ago.

Your address was bouncing (again), which is why you stopped receiving the mail (again), and I’ve reenabled delivery for you (again). :slight_smile:

Adam, Thanks so much, and I’m sorry to be such a PITA.

The fact that I have to clean up after all these stupid ISPs repeatedly is one reason I keep recommending that people use the Web interface to Discourse. Mailing lists are just brittle because you don’t have any control over what your ISP lets through or how they respond when they erroneously mark something you want as spam.

What really ticks me off is that real spam keeps getting past the Spectrum filters, but Discourse keeps getting bounced.

This is partly why I prefer Gmail to iCloud. Gmail may mark messages as spam incorrectly sometimes, but when it does it, the messages get the Spam label. When iCloud identifies some things as spam incorrectly, it deletes them outright without ever showing them to the user.

I’ve never tried iCloud mail; everyone I know who used it wasn’t happy with it.

None of this is Discourse’s fault in any way.

All that said, we’re switching from SendGrid to Sendy (and Amazon SES) soon to reduce the significant costs of sending a few hundred thousand messages per month, and I’m hoping that change may help. I have no reason to believe it will, but there’s always hope.

My fingers are crossed. And thanks again for your help.


#31

That’s not correct. As that that Verge article state, “while there are still ads in the consumer version of Gmail, those ads are no longer targeted based on the contents of emails.”

That refers only to the ads Google serves within Gmail. They continue to scan Gmail and combine the Gmail data with the data from their other products.

“The company’s data collection practices also include scanning your email to extract keyword data for use in other Google products and services and to improve its machine learning capabilities, Google spokesman Aaron Stein confirmed in an email to NBC News.”

And "it doesn’t stop there, though. Google says it is also leverages some of its datasets to “help build the next generation of ground-breaking artificial intelligence solutions.” On Tuesday, Google rolled out “Smart Replies,” in which artificial intelligence helps users finish sentences.

The extent of the information Google has can be eyebrow-raising even for technology professionals. Dylan Curran, an information technology consultant, recently downloaded everything Facebook had on him and got a 600-megabyte file. When he downloaded the same kind of file from Google, it was 5.5 gigabytes, about nine times as large. His tweets highlighting each kind of information Google had on him, and therefore other users, got nearly 170,000 retweets."

The controversy that the Verge was reblogging from a Wall Street Journal article was about third-party app developers being able to read your email. What the Verge fails to make clear is those developers will only have access to your gmail account if you use their third-party app with your account.

So Google says it will only scan your Gmail to use the information on all its other services. But they will allow third parties to scan your Gmail unless you go through complicated opt out procedures in each app that the vast majority of the over one billion Gmail users most probably know nothing about and have a barely negligible chance of finding out about. This was revealed just a few months ago and vastly overshadowed and buried by the Facebook third party scandal, and quickly fell out of the news cycle.

I would feel a lot more inclined to use Gmail if they asked my permission to harvest and use my data, and to require third parties to do so. I’m a very big fan of Google search, YouTube, and other services. But I occasionally send personal information to family and friends via email that I would prefer not to be tracked.


#32

Google is currently paying Apple $9 billion this year to be the default search engine in Safari; it’s going up to $12 billion next year.


(Curtis Wilcox) #33

Again, no, they explicitly state they do not do that. " Their post in response to the WSJ article and the original announcement about the change from 2017 say they do not process email for ads, period. Their privacy policy is fairly detailed about what they do collect, which is quite varied; it’s almost things that may be called “metadata” but as the Snowden and other revelations have shown, metadata can be quite revealing.

The NBC News article isn’t very good,
but it does mention one way in which you may access your email contents outside Gmail, in your Google Search results (I never leave myself logged in so I’ve never seen it in action). That may be unexpected but it’s still a case of you using your data. Including how many megabytes or gigabytes Facebook or Google “have on you” is very deceptive if that download includes all the photos (or videos) you’ve uploaded. Their location tracking is some of the creepiest info but it doesn’t take much storage space at all.

I can’t tell from the formatting who wrote this (if you want to quote other people in your replies, use Discourse’s quote feature) but you must give third parties permission before they can access your data. Again, Google’s post after the WSJ story shows a screenshot of a sample application dialog, what you would have to click “Allow” in before an app can access your data.

I’m not saying there is nothing to be concerned about regarding Google’s tracking and information collecting in general. This thread was about email providers and I don’t see a privacy concern about how Gmail is run today.


#34

Whatever you think about the article, it does contain this quote:

“The company’s data collection practices also include scanning your email to extract keyword data for use in other Google products and services and to improve its machine learning capabilities, Google spokesman Aaron Stein confirmed in an email to NBC News.”

So it’s more than extremely likely that they are using data from Gmail to serve highly targeted ads to its users in Android, Safari, etc. What they state in the Gmail privacy page is:

“Google does not sell your personal information, which includes your Gmail and Google Account information. We also do not share your personal information with advertisers, unless you have asked us to.”

I agree that it is extremely likely this is true, and even though they did recently get caught with their pants down selling to other parties, they are unlikely to do this again. But selling personal information is 100% different from collecting information that enables finely granulated targeted ads to be served on Google owned and affiliated sites, including Safari. They are not selling Apple, or any of their millions of Doubleclick, and other affiliated sites across they have across globe, direct access to the information on Gmail or any other of their services and products that collect data about you. They are selling access to your eyes and ears, not your personal information. And the information they harvest from Gmail is what keeps them slugging it out with Facebook for the big advertising and sponsorship bucks.


(Curtis Wilcox) #35

All that’s saying is “we have the data you give us” in contrast to the data about you that they also have. That part says nothing about how it is used.

I have already pointed out multiple times that they have explicitly stated they do not use email content for ads since 2017. I think all the data about people they collect from search, tracking across the web, and from Android is more than enough to keep them ahead of Facebook. I’m not interested in any more privacy policy kremlinology.


(Jerome King) #36

I am sure it is my fault as Adam (and Lauri) have sent me many emails about how to live with the new service structure. I have never received an individual thread message since the conversion. Like MM Talker I want to use Mail and not a browser.

I still get a weekly (it seems) email message about all the conversations I’ve missed. I use it to look at the conversations and follow up

So instead of TidBits being a more than daily habit it is an occasional weekly item.
That may be good for my health

Jerry


(Minus van Baalen) #37

Call me paranoid, but I sometimes even hesitate to reply to people with gmail addresses…


(Adam Engst) #38

OK, you’re paranoid. :slight_smile:

You can go seriously overboard on stressing about this stuff, and it’s largely a waste of time and mental effort. Once you send someone—anyone!—email, you lose control over that message. If that’s going to be a problem for you, don’t send the message and instead communicate in some more ephemeral way, such as by phone (and hope you’re not being recorded).

There’s nothing new here; the same problem applies to physical letters. My mother was Cornell University Archivist for many years, and there are a lot of people who are unhappy that their letters ended up in the recipient’s public papers as stored by a university’s archives. It’s too bad—once you send the letter, you lose control.

It doesn’t even have to be a sender/recipient issue. James Joyce’s grandson is apparently really bothered that James Joyce’s dirty letters to his wife Nora are public. Nothing he can do about it. I can’t link to them because spam filters would likely block even the URLs for those reading via email, but you can see what I’m talking about in this Google search. Of course, if you click it, Google will know you’re searching for naughty bits and James Joyce too! :slight_smile:

https://www.google.com/search?q=james+joyce+explicit+letters+to+wife


(Adam Engst) #39

If you would like, Jerry, I can change your settings (since Discourse makes that easy) so you get every message via email, or I can change it so you get a digest daily instead of weekly.

Personally, I get all the messages as they come in, but I just click the View Topic button at the bottom and reply in Discourse because it’s just one more click for far more capable editing environment. Most people would probably be best off with a daily digest and clicking in for replies.


(Minus van Baalen) #40

Once you send someone—anyone!—email, you lose control over that message.

That is very true, but I don’t think it is easy to reconstitute my entire correspondence from isolated messages. But a discussion with someone using gmail gives quite some information about me to Google, and yet even more if I also correspond with other people using gmail!