Daily Archives: 2009-06-16

Open letter to Google

I am one of 38 researchers and academics (almost all of whom are far more important and famous than I will ever be!), who has signed an Open Letter to Google’s CEO, Eric Schmidt.

The letter, whose text is released today, calls upon Google to honour the important privacy promises it has made to its customers and protect users’ communications from theft and snooping by enabling industry standard transport encryption technology (HTTPS) for Google Mail, Docs, and Calendar.

Google already uses HTTPS for sign-in, but the options to make the whole of the session secure are hidden away where few people will ever find them.

Hence, at the moment pretty much everyone who uses a public WiFi connection to read their Gmail or edit a shared doc has no protection at all if any passing stranger decides to peek and see what they’re doing.

However, getting everyone to change their behaviour will take lots of explaining. Much simpler to have Google edit a couple of configuration files and flip a default the other way.

The letter goes into the issues in considerable detail (it’s eleven pages long with all the footnotes)… Eric Schmidt can hardly complain that we’ve failed to explain the issues to him !