SFGate: If You Send To Gmail, You Have 'No Legitimate Expectation Of
Not that this is really news but if you hand your message to a
third-party for delivery you have no expectation of privacy. Agree with
it or not that's the way it is inside the United States. This is why it
is important for people to use end-to-end encryption (like
GnuPG) to protect the contents of messages being
sent through any email provider. The same goes for using any instant
messenger service, SMS, or telephone that uses a third-party provider.
This isn't anything new, really. Ever since the telegraph was invented
people have encrypted messages before handing them to a third-party for
delivery. The Engima machine was actually developed as a business tool
that was later used by the German military during World War II.
Businesses needed to protect their communications during transit across
a third-party. Today there isn't a person sending your message to a
distant point but rather a computer system that can not only efficiently
and accurately send your message across distant lands but can also make
a copy of that message and share it with whomever they wish.
While it has become easier for companies to share your messages with
governments and third parties it has also become easier to protect your
messages with encryption. The question now is how to make this
technology easier for people to use and, perhaps more importantly, make
people care about securing their messages. This last part is probably
We've been kicking the ball down the field for a while. When Google
implemented TLS encryption for its Gmail service people raved about the
security measure. Sure, what they did was important as it prevented
anyone watching the network traffic between the user and Google from
seeing what was happening. But that left Google having open access to
the contents of the messages being sent. This is the case for all email
providers that use TLS encryption to secure the communications between
users and their servers. Now is the time to fill that gap. How to do
that easily is still up for debate.