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University of California-Davis ends Gmail evaluation; cites privacy concerns

In a joint letter last week to employees, University of California-Davis, CIO Peter Siegel, and other IT council members said the school decided to end its GMail pilot, which had the goal to have led to campus-wide Gmail deployment, for the 30,000 faculty and staff at the University. But the faculty doubted Google’s ability to keep their correspondences private. Google officials, for their part, insisted that their privacy controls are adequate. “Obviously there’s lots of opinions and voices on campuses,” said Jeff Keltner, a business development manager in the Google Apps for Education group. “By and large, it’s not typical of what we’re seeing in market. We’re seeing lots of schools move their students & faculty onto Gmail,” said Keltner, who also noted that UC students are continuing to use the service and that Gmail users’ privacy is protected by contractual assurances that govern data handling. But the note, dated April 30, also cited a recent letter to Google CEO Eric Schmidt from the privacy commissioners of ten countries, including Canada, UK, and Germany—but not the U.S.—that chastised Google for its recent addition of Google Buzz to Gmail. Google Buzz adds social networking tools that the commissioners said compromise user privacy.


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