Will Google's New Encryption Foil the NSA?

Jun 04, 2014 04:46 PM EDT | Jordan Ecarma


Google has launched encryption for the masses in a new service called "End-to-End" that encrypts emails until they are safely in the intended recipient's inbox.

While the actual software to protect the messages isn't new, Google has made it much easier for everyday users to implement, Bloomberg Businessweek reported.

"While end-to-end encryption tools like PGP and GnuPG have been around for a long time, they require a great deal of technical know-how and manual effort to use," Google said in a blog post. "To help make this kind of encryption a bit easier, we're releasing code for a new Chrome extension that uses OpenPGP, an open standard supported by many existing encryption tools."

Google released the source code on Tuesday. The extension encrypts emails until they are received by the intended user, so messages will be protected while moving through the Internet.

The technology could be a "major blow" to National Security Agency work since this type of encryption is difficult to crack, The New York Times reported.

"It's important that the government not overstep," Eric Grosse, Google's chief of security, said in an interview last week, as quoted by the Times. "We don't want any government breaking the security of the Internet."

Google has received criticism for its close work with the government as well as for not taking security measures sooner, especially in the wake of the Edward Snowden revelations.

"We recognize that this sort of encryption will probably only be used for very sensitive messages or by those who need added protection," Stephan Somogyi, a Google privacy and security product manager, wrote in a company blog post about the new encryption service. "But we hope that the End-to-End extension will make it quicker and easier for people to get that extra layer of security should they need it."

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