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posted by martyb on Wednesday June 04 2014, @04:54PM   Printer-friendly
from the but-we-know-who-your-friends-are dept.

Today Google announced the alpha release of a Chrome plugin that works with their Gmail service to enable end-to-end encryption for email sent through their system. This will reduce Google's ability to data-mine the content of messages, but it won't stop anyone from tracking senders and recipients. Their plugin is based on OpenPGP and they are publishing the source code.

With a focus on ease-of-use lets hope that this plugin is enough to start a broader movement towards end-to-end encryption for all email, regardless of provider.

Editor's Note: This is an early release of the code and should not be relied upon just yet. Google invites the community to test and evaluate the extension; it is even eligible for their Vulnerability Reward Program.

 
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  • (Score: 4, Interesting) by frojack on Wednesday June 04 2014, @05:13PM

    by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday June 04 2014, @05:13PM (#51229) Journal

    My Thunderbird is set up to sign/encrypt by default when ever the recipient's public key is known.
    The problem is it doesn't fetch keys by default (which may be a good thing). The more mail moved quietly to encrypted by default the better.

    As long as this plugin can't harvest private keys while decryption messages, and the source remains open, this can't be anything but a good. Google needs to allow end user choice of encryption/decryption engines so that people do not need to trust a browser with their private keys.

    And its got to be as simple as falling off a log, because even as easy as it was to get the Enigmail plugin installed in Tbird, most people just won't do it.

    There will be those, including some here on SN, who will immediately attack this, and seek to create a digital "caste" of people who will never be allowed to encrypt any mail at all, and who's every communication must remain public. Probably some people will receive sentences forbidding them from using encrypted email.

    But the move to encrypted mail is long overdue.

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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 04 2014, @09:16PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 04 2014, @09:16PM (#51359)

    Perhaps the plugin is safe, clean, and open, but remember that Google also makes the browser that runs the plugin, and you don't have all the Chrome source and can't verify the build. They don't have to mess with the plugin when they own the silently self-updating engine.