During Thursday's Senate Intelligence Committee hearing, California senator Dianne Feinstein admitted that the NSA collects emails through "upstream" collection methods. This means that the security agency is accessing emails directly from the Internet as these messages are being sent, not just from an Internet provider's server which would be the 'downstream' approach. "Upstream collection... occurs when NSA obtains internet communications, such as e-mails, from certain US companies that operate the Internet background, i.e., the companies that own and operate the domestic telecommunications lines over which internet traffic flows," she said. Tech blogs have criticized Feinstein's use of the term "background" …
Three of Germany's largest email providers have teamed up to offer "Email Made in Germany," which offers consumers email services without the prying eyes of the National Security Agency. The providers, which includes partly state-owned Deutsche Telekom AG, promise users that they send encrypted email through German servers which are subject to strict privacy laws. More than a hundred thousand Germans have signed up since August when the service first launched.
The Sacramento Business Journal has renamed its email marketing newsletters. The former "Morning Roundup," has been renamed, "Morning Edition." The email newsletter called "Daily Update" is now called "Afternoon Edition." The publication explained the updated names are part of the publisher's new strategy "to better explain to our audience how we get local business news to you."
Irish discount airline Ryanair has created a customer service email address so that passengers can get in touch with the airline, following an enforcement action filed by the Irish National Consumer Agency. The agency filed the compliance notice to the airline back in May. The airline responded this week, by updating the 'Contact us' area on its website. Ryanair's new customer service email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
In an interview with The Guardian, Phil Zimmermann, the creator of email encryption software PGP and president of email encrypting service Silent Circle, warned consumer email users about the threats of exposing their metadata to spies. He said that while you can protect the content of an email message, he warned about the inability to encrypt email headers and metadata. He pointed out that journalists are at risk, as governments may spy on journalists who exchange emails with sensitive sources.
Developer Vin Thomas has created a Kickstarter campaign to create Cubtab, an email app designed specifically for kids as young as 3-4 years old. "Rather than just throw them into the deep waters of the internet, we wanted to find a way to introduce them to email, messaging and the internet in a fun and safe way," he explained to KATU.com. Messages will be filtered by parents and the app won't allow for spam or advertising messaging. Kids will be able to write emails using the app, as well as include drawings, stickers and audio messages.
A school district in Alabama accidentally email the social security numbers of 2,300 substitute teachers to the human resources departments at 45 area schools. The school sent the email with the list of the teacher's names to the district schools. The attachment also included the teacher's social security numbers. The school system responded by sending a follow up email requesting recipients to delete the email and the attachment. The district also sent a letter to the substitutes advising them to place a fraud alert on their credit files.
ITProPortal interviewed Silent Circle CEO Mike Janke about why he suddenly shut down his company which used to offer an encrypted email service. While he admits that the company is working on a new solution for encrypted email, he explained the challenges with keeping emails private. "Email is fundamentally broken, the architecture of email was made 40 years ago," he told ITProPortal. "We could have been coerced by a number of governments to hand over the metadata and all that metadata is just as valuable as the content."
A federal judge has refused to dismiss a lawsuit which claims that Google's email scanning practices go against privacy laws. On Thursday, U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh said in a 43-page ruling that Gmail users can go ahead with a class-action suit against Google's scanning practices. Users claim that scanning their emails violates privacy laws. Google claims that it is done automatically in order to target ads and that no human eyes actually see the scans, and is therefore not violating user privacy.
UncommonGoods, an e-commerce company that sells unusual products had a lot of unsubscribes during the holiday season last year. During that period, the company was sending about five emails a week. To help get its cadence more on track with consumer demand, in July they began a frequency testing program with AgilOne, an email analytics provider. The move has helped the company increase its overall email open rate from 14% to 19%. In addition, the open rate among enthusiasts has increased from 78.2% to 81.3%. Not a bad way to head into the season and avoid unsubscribes.