Privacy Awareness Week is perhaps not working out the way Google would have liked. There’s word this afternoon that officials at the University of California, Davis have decided not to deploy Gmail on a campus-wide basis due to privacy concerns.
According to Paul McDougall, CIO Peter Siegel, Academic Senate IT chair Niels Jensen, and Campus Council IT chair Joe Kiskis all signed a letter last week ending a pilot program and criticizing Gmail.
In the letter, they explained that faculty members "expressed concerns that our campus’s commitment to protecting the privacy of their communications is not demonstrated by Google and that the appropriate safeguards are neither in place at this time nor planned for in the near future."
Google doesn’t view this as too huge a blow, though. In an interview with WebProNews, Jeff Keltner, who is a business development manager for Google Apps for Education, pointed out that students at UC Davis have been using Gmail on an official basis for quite some time and will continue to do so. It’s only the faculty who are effectively backing away.
Keltner also characterized this as "an atypical experience for us," pointing out that a lot of other universities – such as Brown, Cornell, Georgetown, and Vanderbilt, among many others – are happy customers. And Keltner maintained, "We’ve really tackled the privacy issues contractually" and "tried to push the limits in terms of protecting our users’ data, protecting out users’ privacy."