Oct 21, 2011

When friends talked of how Google has a finger in every pie and the danger of one company having so much of  our private information, I was skeptical. The reason being that like many others, I am a big user of a host of free Google services and never experienced any kind of infringement. However, a recent experience with my daughter is indeed a little scary.

Encouraged by the school, my daughter and her friends started their own individual gmail accounts. They used the chat services and forwarded interesting mails to each other. At my request, some of my friends also wrote to her and she was thrilled to check her account every day and read new mails. Sometime back, out of the blue, she received a notification from Google that she will not have access to her account and that her account will be closed within 30 days if she doesn't provide proof of her being older than 13.

I have always encouraged her to be honest and provide the correct information. It is the reason why though many of her friends are on fb, she isn't because you need to be at least 13 to have an fb account. The question that arises is why did Gmail in the first place, allow an account to be opened without any age limitations and later impose such conditions. Isn't it possible that, in future, our accounts can be blocked  by quoting some condition and applying it with retrospective effect?  Shouldn't such an account holder at least be allowed to retrieve the existing emails which included projects related to academics?

With such experiences in real life, how do I convince her that honesty is the best policy.