Consumer Watchdog praised Google on Tuesday for agreeing to offer improved
security for users of its online e-mail services like Gmail.
The technology giant in a blog said it would test Secured Sockets Layer
(SSL) encryption as the default mode for Gmail users and intends to
later offer SSL as a default for all users.
"We are pleased that Google is acknowledging the security risk of
unencrypted email and plans to take corrective steps," said John M.
Simpson, a consumer advocate at Consumer Watchdog.
The HTTPS encryption protocol is an option that is currently available
on Gmail but users are not using it for failing to know how to turn it
Data sent without encryption can easily be intercepted; public WiFi networks are particularly vulnerable.
Google, despite the praise received was also at the same time
questioned by the nonprofit consumer group why the company waited so
long to act on improving its e-mail security.
"We raised this issue with them last fall. In fact, I asked CEO Eric
Schmidt about the need for secure email after a speech he gave in
November,” Simpson added.
Google’s policies, due to its influential size, set many standards for
other Internet companies, Consumer Watchdog said, and called on other
online companies like Yahoo!, Microsoft, Facebook and MySpace to offer
the same protection.
"Secure email must be the rule rather than the exception,” Simpson said.