I'm dumping Gmail for personal use due to privacy concerns. Anyone else? Even if Google and the other tech firms deny NSA's alleged direct server access, there's no proving whats true. I've always operated under the assumption that once its out on the internet, its out there.
This all sounds eerily similar to the premise of the TV show, Person of Interest.
I totally agree with you that the information "once out on the internet, its out there."
I'm not sure but I won't dump my Gmail due to the PRISM. If I did that, where am I going to get my new personal free email services? Outlook.com? Yahoo.com? iCloud? They are all on the provider list of the PRISM. And even PRISM has never existed, I believe the providers above have been secretly selling our personal information to third parties. So to me the matter is not what providers I select but is what and how much personal information I put on the internet.
Personally, I always have this in my head: "Never trust the internet."
The same is true for any major provider, and Google actually ranks pretty well in terms of transparency. Their battles with foreign and domestic government agencies trying to access personal data are well documented. Its true that you never know for sure, but I feel better about Google than I do any other major provider.
Big Brother is watching to be sure. Most citizens in countries like Iran or China would assume this. But in America where we champion democracy, human rights and free speech, my guess is that, aside from tech savvy folks, most people don't assume their every move online is tracked in great detail by their government.
Its not expensive or difficult to run email on your own domain on a hosted cPanel account which runs Roundcube, especially by anyone who is a member of TechHui. By choosing an obscure host that provides decent service, you'd gain a measure of privacy. Surveillance agencies having big fish to fry (i.e., Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, etc.) would likely ignore the huge "schools" of small fry web hosts. If you try this, find a host which provides SSL access to your mail server using their own SSL certificate. Not having to pay for and install an SSL cert each year just for email security would make your life a bit easier and cheaper.