Science & Technology

Is It Safe?


Gmail announced on its blog yesterday that it has upgraded its privacy settings to allow users to sign out of their accounts remotely, as well as track who has signed in under their name:

The top table, under "Concurrent session information," indicates all open sessions, along with IP address and "access type"—which refers to how email was retrieved, for example, through iGoogle, POP3 or a mobile phone. The bottom table, under "Recent activity," contains my most recent history along with times of access. I can also view my current IP address at the very bottom of this window, where it says "This computer is using IP address…"

With this information, I can quickly verify that all the Gmail activity was indeed mine. I remember using Gmail at the times and locations listed. Being extra cautious, I can also click on the "Sign out all other sessions" button to sign out of the account I left open at home.

Scott Loganbill at the tech blog Web Monkey wrote about the privacy upgrades like a gleeful, paranoid voyeur, and calls the new application features an opportunity "to turn the table and spy on the spies"—proof that even innocuous geeks suspect that someone, somewhere, is reading their email.

And now, Marathon Man: