Google is currently developing a process that will make it easier for Gmail users to encrypt their emails, according to Venture Beat’s unnamed sources. For over 20 years, Pretty Good Privacy (PGP) has been an encryption standard, but the platform hasn’t always been the most user-friendly. This, along with growing concerns over unwanted internet surveillance has prompted Google to task its engineers with making PGP easier to use.

Currently, it’s unknown exactly how the company will integrate its improved Gmail encryption features. Google could possibly take a very public approach with a full marketing blitz, however the company could release this new security measure as an additional feature hidden behind Gmail’s settings gear.

It’s also unclear if users will be able to maintain their own keys or if they will be held on Google’s servers, which could potentially be vulnerable to outside attacks. Furthermore, PGP doesn’t support password resets, which further leads to user frustration when people expect to be able to change their password if lost or forgotten.

Lastly, Google scans messages in order to produce user targeted ads. Completely wrapping Gmail in encryption could possibly create a new hurdle for the company’s business model, which is something that it would likely need to address before making any changes.

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3 Responses to “Google is reportedly working on end-to-end encryption for Gmail”

  1. John Smith says:

    Critical issue here is whether the encryption/private key is under user control or does it reside with google?

    The only organisation actually doing anything with the content of my gmail is google.

    Whether or not NSA/GCHQ can access my mail is irrelevant to me. They almost certainly can access my mail, but almost certainly cannot be bothered.

    Google accesses my gmail as it comes in, as it goes out and while it is at rest on their servers. If google wants to upgrade it’s service so that it’s like (example) iMessage or hushmail and then google themselves cannot routinely access it … then that would be great. I might use them more.

  2. Google only scans your mail as it’s being read by you (i.e already decrypted on your end) so this shouldn’t be a problem. On the other hand, adding PGP to the mix is a very difficult endeavor. I certainly would like to see their solution.