I think the question Is it a foolish security move to use Google for search or mail? may be off-topic, but I want to get your input.

In my opinion, this question is outside the kind of questions I can ask here, but is tantalisingly close to being useful. Related questions such as "What concerns should I think about before moving confidential/proprietary data to the cloud?" or "What should go into a service-level agreement?" would be useful, but this question stops short of being either. The question "should I trust Bob?" is not a question for IT security professionals, whether Bob is Google or my neighbour.

Anyway, you may want this kind of question to be on-topic, or you might want to edit it to make it more useful. So I'm not going to use mod-fu to close it before you've had a chance to discuss it here.

Thanks, Graham.


@Graham, I agree with you 100% (and with the non-mod-fu too... dang restraint is hard :) )

That question really felt like "Is Google the Evil Empire?" type of question... Google-bashing at best, link-bait at worst.


I think the question could be interesting if it was worded: "What are the security risks and trade offs with using Google for email?"

People can always find risks, but I'm curious to understand people's understanding of the risks and the rewards to using gmail.

  • Excelent point! – this.josh Nov 30 '12 at 5:31

I tried to answer it from the perspective of "is there a risk to outsource x" to avoid that sort of thing. I guess a quick edit of the question to be more generic isn't easy either as Google are in a unique position.

I think if we can avoid the google bashing aspect and keep it to useful discussion around the pros and cons of outsourcing potentially sensitive data then it is worth keeping, as it is a question various folks may ask...otherwise I agree with you.

Happy to be persuaded either way I think.

For a comparison, what do you guys think of this question? It isn't the same but there are similarities in that it's about the trust one can place in a service.

  • I dont think the Tor question is the same, its not asking if they do no evil, its asking about if you "get what you pay for" when using it (i.e. do you actually get anonymity, and how secure it really is...) – AviD Dec 9 '10 at 15:55
  • I would say it lacks appropriate depth to be a good question. Unless you can measure it we can't answer. Once you can say what types of (technical) assurances you require to trust a given entity then we can evaluate the quality of their offering. – this.josh Nov 30 '12 at 5:35

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