Secure Gmail Reviews

Limited for privacy. Beware false sense of privacy/security.

about Secure Gmail and Tutanota, ProtonMail, Gmail · ·

It is tempting to think that encryption of the type provided by Secure Gmail will protect your privacy. This is only partially true.

Firstly, to work, the recipient must know the password for this type of encryption (symmetric encryption). How will you let them know what the password is? (Email and SMS messages travel in plain text, so that's not good to use.)

Secondly, Secure Gmail does not encrypt the following: your email address, the recipient's email address, the message subject, when the email was sent... and a few other details. This data is called metadata and has been the subject of mass surveillance operations by many intelligence agencies, most notably those of the US, UK, Australia, New Zealand and Canada (the so-called "Five Eyes"), though of course other countries too. (Read about Edward Snowden's revelations for more information). Metadata is enormously useful because it shows who you know, what you communicate to them about (if the email title reveals it), when you communicate and so on. This is the same level of information as a private investigator would have if he followed you round all day. Secure Gmail will not protect you against all this being automatically recorded.

The best Secure Gmail will do is provide a barrier against Google searching your emails for keywords, associating them with your profile and using this for advertising. This is Google's business model. Gmail isn't "free" because your data is being constantly analyzed and used to advertise to you and others. You are the product, in this sense. Yahoo and others do the same.

Incidentally, even if you don't have a Gmail account, and you never agreed to their privacy policy, but you send an email to someone who does have Gmail, your email contents will be analyzed as well.

So there is a risk of a false sense of privacy when using something like Secure Gmail. You have to be sure you understand what it's protecting and what it is not protecting.

For more privacy, you should opt for a service like Protonmail (Switzerland), Tutanota (Germany) or Mailbox.org (Germany). Two people using Protonmail will not have their email scanned or private information sold. Your emails will be stored on servers in Switzerland or Germany where stricter privacy laws operate. Protonmail and Tutanota also have end-to-end encryption and if you send to another Protonmail or Tutanota user, the email never leaves the server, so it can't be intercepted.

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