If you use , keeps records of everything you buy, even if you delete the email receipt, and even if you didn't buy the product from them. Here's metadata from my takeout showing price, delivery address, description, vendor, etc.

@gerowen Jesus.....................

Does anyone have recommendations for a less terrifying email provider?

@ocean @gerowen Protonmail has a free plan and is (to my knowledge) about the most privacy-centered email provider

@pinusc @ocean @gerowen I'm using Protonmail too with also Proton VPN and Proton Calendar ❤️

Everything Free 🙏🏼🍀

@ocean @gerowen I've been happy with fastmail .. $5/user/month with decent webmail (and IMAP, POP etc).

@ocean @gerowen I host my email at It is reasonably priced, easy to setup and have multiple other functionalities if you need them.

@ocean I've been using ProtonMail for a couple years now.


Does anyone have recommendations for a less terrifying email provider?

Self hosting isn't an option for most people, but that would probably be the best.

Most e-mail providers aren't as creepy as Google, the average ISP would be a reasonable alternative. If you want something that's focussed on privacy, you should consider Tutanota:

If you want a complete package (e-mail, cloud, vpn and more), have a look at Librem One:

Bottom line here: stay away from #Google. Not just their e-mail, but everything. Use DuckDuckGo to search the Internet, for example. And Odysee to share videos. There are alternatives for those who understand how evil Google really is (and #Facebook of course).

@ocean @gerowen Self hosting is a good option. But that's sadly not straight forward and tuning a postfix config still freaks me out after two decades. Protonmail and services similar to it provide good service. It's not 100% anonymous but at least once the email has been arrived at protonmail the data is encrypted on their servers. Their free service is just fine. But don't expect rock solid privacy from anything related to email. It can't be private, especially not the header.

@gerowen it worries me that people are shocked that Google does this.

@gerowen Where is this JSON from? GDPR request? I'm curious about finding the information Google collects about me too...

@pinusc Google Takeout gives you so your files and any associated metadata they have on it.

@gerowen PGP/GnuPG is widely criticized by usability folks, but *that* is a place where it should be more deployed.

Pretty easy for e-commerce platforms to have an option for uploading PGP keys end encrypting all notification emails with them.

@vonubelgarten I mean hell, even Facebook of all people has this feature, 😛

@gerowen Iep! I joke about them knowing better than anybody else how useful the information in these emails is and so they try to deny them to the other players.

@gerowen Google executive somewhere: "you're welcome"

I've been telling my friends this for years, but their lukewarm reaction is usually something naive like "I don't have anything to hide".

@hans that argument has always appeared poor to me as well, and I've generally used Daniel Solove's counter (he's actually written numerous academic papers and a whole book on privacy) anytime it pops up:

@zeruch Nice link, I might get that book! I've used several of those arguments in discussions, but somehow I don't seem to be very convincing. Or most of my friends are really dumb, but I like to think they are not.

Fact is that most people don't see any danger other than receiving some well targeted spam. For most people privacy is like oxygen: they will start worrying about it when they notice it's running low.

@hans Solove can be a bit dry to listen to, but his arguments are concise and I think present an interesting bridge between what people seem to get paranoid about and the actual fundamental stuff that should be worrisome. Frankly I'm totally okay with the entire economy collapsing on itself and something new growing up through the ashes. I frankly don't care about the disruption in the process; is trash en bloc.

@hans Next time ask them for a list of their credit card numbers and passwords

@gerowen Wow this is a really interesting view. Thanks for sharing this.

@gerowen: Even if it was obvious (like, ofc they keep data, its googe) I find it scary everytime I see stuff like that

@التنينوكس Same here. I host everything myself; mail, cloud, DNS, video, social media.

@gerowen Imagine what you would find if you requested the data per the #RGPD “data request”

@gerowen how'd you get the metadata? would love to see my own as well

@ninjaa Do a "Google Takeout". It takes some time for the archive to be ready but it gives you a copy of all your files, emails, etc., along with any associated metadata they have on it.

@gerowen the first time i accessed Gdrive a few years ago (I did it because a client wanted to share some working docs with me, but i never used it before), i found in some personal files, including a txt with all my passwords.... it was the day when i opened my eyes

@gerowen this has been implemented a while ago. IIRC you can opt out of the experience. Or could. Accidentally, discovery this is what prompted me to pull the plug and switch to protonmail.

@foxes I've seen a couple comments suggesting you can opt out now, but I'm not certain. I just stopped using Gmail and switched to an encrypted email service; ProtonMail in my case.

@foxes @gerowen sonds like just do not use gmail. And use an other email provider for online shopping instead

@aguasmenores @renor I know that everybody knows they collect data, but I find it has a little more of an impact when you show people just how much data they collect that you might not think about.

@gerowen I believe that Google Keeps a Record of Everything You Do Online... Every Click... Every Website you Visit... Everything... and they've been doing it for over 25 years... That's Why Google News FOR ME is So Accurate... they Really know what I'm Interested in...

@gerowen Excellent find. I had no idea they were so arrogant.

@gerowen What's just as scary to me as the privacy issue, is the amount of power we're giving to a handful of massive corporations. Power corrupts. And these giants have a lot of influence on web standards, government, the general public, etc.

@gerowen Quick reminder that google doesn't know what you buy in local family owned business.
Moreover, doing so will give your money to real people rather than billionaire and will have a positive impact in your neighbourhood.

I know it's not always that easy, and amazon is very convenient but when you can, support your local store.

@gerowen honestly hate google. like sweet jesus.
there a data mining pig. for real.

@gerowen I’ve been using @protonmail for a while now and it’s pretty good. They recently released a big update too. Good to see they are actively working on it.

@gerowen For some reason, all I get when I “takeout” “Purchases & Reservations” is an empty zip (well, except for the Archive Explorer).

Doesn’t make sense, I’m still receiving some invoices on my Gmail account 🤔

@Poslovitch That is odd, though it's been a year or so since I got that takeout. I also saw somebody comment that maybe I had used Google Assistant and that's why, and while I did tinker with Google Assistant for a brief period, I never used it to place any kind of orders or anything, so the only plausible explanation that I could come up with for why Google had records of all those purchases I'd made with 3rd parties is that they scraped the info from my email receipts.

@gerowen so i downloaded my google data before deleting the account, but in poking around the downloaded files don't see anything like this. am i not looking in the right place? or is this a relatively new thing that wouldn't be in my data from early this year? i am very interested in understanding this...

@FluxAnswer Mine was from a couple years ago, but it was all in xml files that had to do with my shopping. When I get home I can tell you what folder name mine was in.

@gerowen my shopping folder is pretty empty actually. i think maybe i can't find it because i probably didn't actually do much (any?) shopping with those accounts..

@FluxAnswer That may be the case. I haven't forgotten you, but it takes a while to decrypt and decompress that archive again and I didn't get home until late yesterday.

@gerowen take your time! i appreciate the effort. i'm a student in computational linguistics. trying my best to learn about data collection and privacy..

@FluxAnswer In my takeout there is a subfolder called "Purchases_Reservations". Inside that is several JSON files containing information from several purchases made from vendors that are not Google. There's a separate "Google Shopping" folder, and there's nothing in there. Also, while I did use Google Assistant for a brief period of a month or so, I never used it extensively, and certainly never set it up to place orders on Amazon via voice commands.

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