Google Encrypts Gmail Between Data Centers

It may be a bit of an older article, but after the privacy unit and especially after the speaker last Tuesday, I thought this article would be a nice addition to the blog.

As a result of Edward Snowden’s NSA leaks, and the discovery that the NSA was collecting data from Google and Yahoo without their knowledge, Google (as of March 20th) announced that Gmail is more secure in an attempt to prevent the government from spying on one’s email activity. While Google” made HTTPS encryption the default for its users back in 2010″, the difference now is that Google now internally encrypts every email message Gmail users send or receive. This method prevents the NSA from intercepting emails while they are in transit.

The desire for internally encrypted emails was not viewed as publicly needed until after the NSA leaks, and undoubtedly, the interception of emails and other metadata was happening before the leaks occurred. Encrypted emails existed prior this, although it was not a default option. Before now, encrypted emails signified sensitive information. With Google’s encryption of emails, the line between sensitive information and casual conversation are now heavily blurred, which leads to my question:

Because there is no initial visible difference between a email that would have previously needed encryption and a casual conversation, might that lead to a greater desire for the NSA to obtain and read all encrypted emails? When does more encryption actually begin to harm privacy?

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