Skip Navigation

Close and don't show again.

Your browser is out of date.

You may not get the full experience here on National Journal.

Please upgrade your browser to any of the following supported browsers:

Google Is Making It Harder for the Government to Spy on Your Emails Google Is Making It Harder for the Government to Spy on Your Emails

NEXT :
This ad will end in seconds
 
Close X

Not a member? Learn More »

Forget Your Password?

Don't have an account? Register »

Reveal Navigation
 

 

Tech

Google Is Making It Harder for the Government to Spy on Your Emails

The company is doing its part to "Reset the Net."

Don't spy on me.(NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)

Edward Snowden's biggest fear about leaking the secrets of the National Security Agency's surveillance, he said via video at an event Thursday, was that no one would care. The hundreds of people who gathered to see him talk on a screen spoke to the contrary.

The event Snowden was speaking at, the Personal Democracy Forum, marked the one-year anniversary of Snowden's NSA leaks. The event also served to promote the Reset the Net campaign, which is trying to get Internet denizens to protect themselves and fellow Web users against surveillance. The group hopes to do this by disseminating a "privacy pack" of software, which contains programs users can download to protect their various data, and by encouraging websites to secure their users' data (using tools such as HTTPS) within the year. Bold-face companies like Google, Reddit, Mozilla, Twitter, and Yahoo have already signed onto Reset the Net's pledge to protect user data.

That's not all Google is doing. On Tuesday, the tech giant announced it will start offering end-to-end encryption for Gmail accounts. What does that mean? In the past, the NSA could theoretically tap into Google's data centers to retrieve users' email information. With end-to-end encryption, only the email's sender and recipient can access the pass phrase they need to read the message.

 

During his talk, Snowden touted Google's new encryption plug-in as a step in the right direction. "We're past the point where citizens need to depend on the government to defend their rights," he told the friendly audience. "We don't have to ask for our privacy. We can take it back."

Snowden on Google encryption

Perhaps unsurprisingly, outbound messages sent from Americans' Comcast, Verizon, and Apple email accounts are completely unencrypted. AT&T's domain, att.net, encrypts fewer than half of its outbound emails. By comparison, Gmail encrypts 71 percent of outbound messages and 49 percent of inbound messages. Google started tracking its email encryption rates in December 2013—six months after the Snowden leaks came to light.

"All I did was return information to public hands that never should have been taken out of them in the first place," Snowden said Thursday. Now that that information is in the public's hands, the private sector has to decide which side to take in the privacy debate—or maintain the status quo and hope that nobody notices.

LIKE THIS STORY? Sign up for Tech Edge

Sign up for our daily newsletter and stay on top of tech coverage.

Sign up form for Tech Edge
Job Board
Search Jobs
Digital and Content Manager, E4C
American Society of Civil Engineers | New York, NY
PRODUCT REVIEW ENGINEER
American Society of Civil Engineers | CA
Neighborhood Traffic Safety Services Intern
American Society of Civil Engineers | Bellevue, WA
United Technologies Research Fellow
American Society of Civil Engineers | New York, NY
Process Engineering Co-op
American Society of Civil Engineers | Conshohocken, PA
Electrical Engineer Co-op
American Society of Civil Engineers | Findlay, OH
Application Engineer/Developer INTERN - Complex Fluids
American Society of Civil Engineers | Brisbane, CA
Application Engineer - Internships CAE/CFD Metro Detroit
American Society of Civil Engineers | Livonia, MI
Chief Geoscientist
American Society of Civil Engineers
Application Engineer - Internships CAE/CFD Metro Boston
American Society of Civil Engineers | Burlington, MA
Professional Development Program Engineer
American Society of Civil Engineers | Farmington Hills, MI
Civil Enginering Intern - Water/Wastewater/Site-Development
American Society of Civil Engineers | Sacramento, CA
Staff Accountant
American Society of Civil Engineers | Englewood, CO
Biomedical Service Internship Position
American Society of Civil Engineers | Flint, MI
 
Comments
comments powered by Disqus