Gmail will let politicians beat spam filters

Posted:
in General Discussion
Google is launching a trial that will see Gmail users getting more emails from election candidates whether they are wanted or not.




Big Tech companies have previously been criticized for allegedly limiting conservative viewpoints. Now Google is attempting to redress that by removing limitations on any political campaign emails.

According to Axios, the pilot program will go ahead in time for the midterms, after the Federal Election Commission gave permission.

"We expect to begin the pilot with a small number of campaigns from both parties," said Google spokesperson Jose Castaneda, "and will test whether these changes improve the user experience, and provide more certainty for senders during this election period."

"We will continue to listen and respond to feedback as the pilot progresses," continued Castaneda. "During the pilot, users will be in control through a more prominent unsubscribe button."

Google did already receive feedback during its submission to the FEC. Reportedly, hundreds of negative comments were received, leading the FEC to have extended the deadline because of high interest.

Under the pilot program, Gmail will put the burden on the user to mark political messages as spam. Political campaigners have to enroll in Google's pilot, and then the first mail they send will automatically include a banner.

That banner will ask if users want to keep getting such emails, unsubscribe from political group's list, or report the message as spam. Gmail will continue to scan for malware, however.

Google does say that this is a small pilot program, but given the volume of political mails sent daily, it's not clear how the term "small" applies yet.

Read on AppleInsider

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 13
    Really Google? Now who in Hades decided that we wanted to receive ANY, let alone more crap from these scamming con artists?
    rob53twokatmewdewmewatto_cobrawilliamlondonlam92103thtAndy.Hardwake
  • Reply 2 of 13
    rob53rob53 Posts: 3,257member
    Yet another reason not to use Google products.
    twokatmewcfilipponidewmewatto_cobrawilliamlondonlam92103Andy.Hardwake
  • Reply 3 of 13
    What I find most annoying is that these types of spam email messages are like Legionnaires’ disease. Legionnaires’ disease is a bacterial disease, which has not been eradicated, because there is a reservoir of the bacteria in soil and water. Even, if we achieved herd immunity at any point, newborns from then on would be able to catch the disease.

    The political spam I receive contains Unsubscribe links, which, I believe are legit. But, because of the external reservoir of email addresses, which is held in my case by the RNC, I am put on new subscriptions all the time. That’s what you get for registering to vote under a specific party or making a donation to a political candidate. Of course, the law will never change, because a majority of politicians would have to vote to deprive themselves of a source of funding for their next reelection campaign.

    As for Google, in principle, it’s a matter of not getting in the way of political free speech protected by the 1st Amendment. Whether there is some other calculation behind it, like that they did the statistical analysis of which party this would benefit more, I don’t know but would suspect there is. 
    watto_cobraFileMakerFeller
  • Reply 4 of 13
    Shouldn't such a bypass feature be opt-in, rather than opt-out (esp. as history has shown us how effective opt-outs are.)

    After all the reason why certain right-wing political messages were getting filtered to spam is because they were imperceivable from actual spam messages. That seems like something the user should have a stronger say in.

    I mean it's a wild idea: but if one's political messages look like spam.. maybe make them look not so spammy, it's really not hard. However we've clearly entered a new era where governments are interested in using IT companies as a tool for satisfying political and lobbying-derived agendas.
    watto_cobrawilliamlondonlam92103FileMakerFellerAndy.Hardwake
  • Reply 5 of 13
    I don't really care since my Gmail addy is for spam only.
  • Reply 6 of 13
    thttht Posts: 5,496member
    The destiny of any communications medium is to be spammed into unusability.

    Paper mail? It's 99.9% spam and advertisements. If it is by weight, would it be 99.999% spam and advertisements? It's gotten to the point that I now miss bills and and other important mail because who wants to sort through all that useless stuff. Don't even want to go to the mailbox anymore.

    Phone? It's now 99.9% spam. It's now to that point that we just don't pick up anymore and we miss calls from friends and family.

    Cell Phone? I have finally turned on the only-ring-if-a-caller-is-in-my-contacts option. So calls from Doctors and such are now dumped to voicemail, and sometimes I won't get back to it.

    Email? The inbox junk mail filtering has both false positives and false negatives. So, I end up have to go into the junk mail folder anyways.

    Miraculously, only text messaging has kind of been free of spam, to a point. Luckily, text messages used to cost money, spamming cell phones were really frowned upon. Wonder how long it will last.
    FileMakerFeller
  • Reply 7 of 13
    Don’t be evil.
    FileMakerFeller
  • Reply 8 of 13
    Google - do be vile. 
    FileMakerFeller
  • Reply 9 of 13
    tht said:
    The destiny of any communications medium is to be spammed into unusability.

    Paper mail? It's 99.9% spam and advertisements. If it is by weight, would it be 99.999% spam and advertisements? It's gotten to the point that I now miss bills and and other important mail because who wants to sort through all that useless stuff. Don't even want to go to the mailbox anymore.

    Phone? It's now 99.9% spam. It's now to that point that we just don't pick up anymore and we miss calls from friends and family.

    Cell Phone? I have finally turned on the only-ring-if-a-caller-is-in-my-contacts option. So calls from Doctors and such are now dumped to voicemail, and sometimes I won't get back to it.

    Email? The inbox junk mail filtering has both false positives and false negatives. So, I end up have to go into the junk mail folder anyways.

    Miraculously, only text messaging has kind of been free of spam, to a point. Luckily, text messages used to cost money, spamming cell phones were really frowned upon. Wonder how long it will last.
    Nope Text messages can be spoofed so are used regularly to spam people. 

    Problem is all these systems ran on trust and didn't design in security at the begining. 

    The destiny of the providers is to materially benefit from enabling the crime of the spammers and scammers. 

    Facebook and Google just jumped straight in the deep end and swim with the sharks. 


    tht
  • Reply 10 of 13
    Hmm. Google will have a list of source email addresses that are clearly only used to send political advertisements. Email clients have the ability to set filtering rules based on, among other things, the source email address.

    If we want to be as efficient as possible, shouldn't that list of addresses just be made public, allowing end users to configure their email clients appropriately? I mean, Google makes all sorts of confidential information public all the time - copyrighted books, personal details of users (in aggregate, of course) - so why apply a special process in this particular case? :wink:
  • Reply 11 of 13
    So thankful I switched to using my own domain with iCloud+ mail instead of gmail. It’s been a lovely 12 months since making the switch. 
  • Reply 12 of 13
    They're just covering their asses. Under the federal anti-spam laws political emails are all excepted, so they are heading off the lawsuits from conservatives who have already begun posturing about how tech companies treat them unfairly. I wouldn't be shocked if in the next two years every email provider does this, as political groups have bottomless pockets and infinite numbers of lawyers.
  • Reply 13 of 13
    Ugh! This is so disappointing.  
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