On Tuesday, Google released a source code for a new extension for its Chrome browser that makes it easier for users to encrypt email messages, according to The New York Times.
The extension is called End-to-End and it uses open-source encryption, OpenPGP, that gives users the chance to encrypt email from when it leaves their browser until it is decrypted by the recipient.
For this to work, users and recipients will need to use either End-to-End or another type of encryption service.
Google’s chief of security, Eric Grosse, said the following in an interview: “It’s important that the government not overstep. We don’t want any government breaking the security of the Internet.”
The new tool from Google could significantly hurt the spying done by the NSA and other agencies. Even Edward Snowden suggested that companies begin offering easier end-to-end encryption for users to create a “more constitutional, more carefully overseen enforcement model.”
Google, and other tech companies, have been criticized for not offering this type of encryption earlier.
“Google wants to sit between you and everyone you interact with and provide some kind of added value,” Christopher Soghoian, the principal technologist of the American Civil Liberties Union, said as a member of the SXSW panel. “They want to be in that connection with you, and that makes it difficult to secure those connections.”
In a blog post for Google, the company’s privacy and security product manager, Stephan Somogyi, said the following:
“We recognize that this sort of encryption will probably only be used for very sensitive messages or by those who need added protection 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.”
The new tool was released to privacy activists, engineers and cryptographers to find back doors and mistakes in the software.
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