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In Snowden’s Wake, Google Ups Security


Have you noticed a new lock in your address bar?

Last week, Google announced new security measures for Gmail – “something we made a top priority after last summer’s revelations.”  The change is yet another reaction to last year’s revelations of Edward Snowden, the controversial whistleblower who made national headlines and garnered global attention for revealing mass surveillance programs at the NSA. Media outlets and opinion polls provide evidence of American aversion to Big Brother, and canny companies like Google are paying heed.

Last year, Ezra Klein, a popular writer for the Washington Post, praised Snowden’s actions with the story, “Edward Snowden, a Patriot,” and a public opinion poll conducted by Quinnipiac University found that most Americans consider Snowden a whistleblower, not a traitor. Opinions certainly vary on this (see our recent post titled Enterprise Technologists From Every Sector: Get The Real Truth About NSA From A Trusted Insider), but the point is that Google wants to ensure users feel as protected as possible.

Google wants to be on the right side of this public sentiment. To assure users of its commitment to privacy and security, Google’s official blog promises an encrypted connection whenever users check or send emails. Coming from the world’s biggest Internet provider, this change constitutes a significant jump in email safety – enhancing protections from criminals and foreign intelligence services.

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More Stories By Bob Gourley

Bob Gourley, former CTO of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), is Founder and CTO of Crucial Point LLC, a technology research and advisory firm providing fact based technology reviews in support of venture capital, private equity and emerging technology firms. He has extensive industry experience in intelligence and security and was awarded an intelligence community meritorious achievement award by AFCEA in 2008, and has also been recognized as an Infoworld Top 25 CTO and as one of the most fascinating communicators in Government IT by GovFresh.