Google is starting to get serious about making sure your Gmail messages are secure. The company announced on Thursday that it is making all Gmail messages go through an encrypted HTTPS connection that will prevent anyone else from reading them but their intended recipient. Google has made HTTPS its default setting for users since 2010 but it’s apparently decided to make it the only option in the wake of the massive NSA spying scandal revealed by leaker Edward Snowden last year.
Google says that this change “means that no one can listen in on your messages as they go back and forth between you and Gmail’s servers—no matter if you’re using public WiFi or logging in from your computer, phone or tablet.” Google has even gone an extra step and has made sure to encrypt all messages as they move between Google’s private data centers, a change from its previous policy of allowing messages to go between its data centers without encryption. This was a vulnerability that the NSA successfully exploited to hack into Google’s data centers and the company has gone to great lengths to patch it.
Does this mean your Gmail messages are now fully secure from government snooping? We wouldn’t count on it: If there’s one thing we’ve learned in the last year it’s that the United States government is extremely creative and resourceful when it comes to finding new ways to spy on everyone’s communications, despite the fact that it can’t properly launch a health care website.