Web PM

Gmail in emergency lightning response shocker

Lester Haines / The Register | April 7 2006

We can all sleep sounder in our beds, safe in the knowledge that Gmail will - if required - move with panther-like speed to tackle any possible threat to national security.

The proof? We've just had a gem from an anonymous Gmail user who was "trying to contact Gmail regarding fraud" only to get bogged down in a "nightmare of switch boards and receptionists unwilling to help".

In the process, however, he stumbled across "Google's fantastic automated messages at +1 650 253 3422". In the "Under the requiring access to a Gmail account that is not yours" bit, he was informed: "If it is an emergency and you require the intervention of law enforcement, including bomb threats and suicide attempts, you simply have to report through the normal security form with the words 'URGENT' in it."

And the response to such a vital missive? As our correspondent puts it: "Well it's now the next day after my urgent request went through...I'm sure several buildings have been blown up by suicidally depressed people in the meantime..."

Quite so. Simpsons fans will be reminded of the episode where Homer is trying to urgently contact Springfield police department by phone. He is, of course, asked by a pre-recorded message to select the crime in question, panics, and gets something to the effect of: "You have selected regicide. If you know the name of the king or queen being murdered, press one. To hear a list of kings and queens, press two..."

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