EDMONTON – By outsourcing its email service to Google, the University of Alberta expects to save $2 million a year but the move would set a precedent other major Canadian universities are expected to watch closely.
A story in the Edmonton Journal said privacy is a key concern but the university has filed a privacy impact assessment and lawyers are working through the contract with Google, which has offered free service to post-secondary institutions for several years. The only Canadian institution to switch to Google is Lakehead University.
In the Journal story, James Turk, executive director of the Canadian Association of University Teachers, said privacy concerns related to the U.S. Patriot Act that could allow American officials to monitor faculty email if there is a suspicion of domestic terrorism. “I want to have the freedom to say what I think needs to be said without having to look over my shoulder and fear my wording might bring me to the attention of the FBI,” said Turk.