How safe is your Gmail account?

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Google’s Gmail is one of the world’s most popular free email providers. However, nearly half of the emails you send using your Gmail account aren’t really private.

“I use it for a lot so knowing that anybody can take a look is a little concerning,” said Jennifer Bramucci of Ludlow.

As much as half of all e-mails sent between Gmail and other e-mail providers are NOT encrypted. That means anyone with the right skill set can find what you’ve been sending, if they know where to look.

“You think as such a huge company they would be on top of their security so it is a little alarming,” said Bramucci.

Google released its Transparency Report, which applies to the company’s 425 million users worldwide. Google’s statistics show, AOL, Yahoo, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn all encrypt more than 95% of their e-mail traffic.

However, the lack of privacy isn’t necessarily all of Google’s fault. Gmail has encryption turned on, but a lot of other email providers don’t. Your emails are only private with Gmail if both you, the sender, and the receiver have the encryption enabled.

“It’s not my job to make sure my emails are secure, it’s your job, that’s what Google’s for,” said Jimmy Jimmo of Chicopee. “I wouldn’t want to send a picture to my friend and anyone can see it. That’s kind of scary.”

Google says they think all messages should be private if the user wishes. That’s why they’re creating a new plug-in. It’s in the works now, and if you chose to download it, it will allow you to manually encrypt all of your emails.

The interesting thing is if you do opt to fully encrypt your own emails, even Google can’t see it. A big way Google makes its money is by scanning your emails for information so it can send you targeted advertisements.

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