Google Inc. has enhanced Gmail security in an attempt to keep its user emails nearly safe from the hands of the National Security Agency (NSA). Google announced that encryption technology has been improved to prevent the NSA from spying on messages travelling between inboxes and its global data centers.
To boost the security system, Google will employ a protected communications protocol called HTTP Secure or HTTPS to connect to its servers. This will encrypt data moving between the inboxes and the servers. HTTPS will replace HTTP in the URL to provide better protection. Previously, users were allowed to choose between HTTP and HTTPS but from now on HTTPS will be the only option available while connecting to Gmail.
Ex-NSA contractor Edward Snowden had leaked information about the NSA’s global Internet surveillance program PRISM, under which the agency collects user data of Internet companies like Google, Facebook Inc. (FB - Free Report) , Apple Inc. (AAPL - Free Report) , Yahoo! Inc. and Microsoft. As part of this operation, they can keep online activities under surveillance to determine any threat to national security.
The NSA has to get permission for data-mining under Section 702 and then these companies conform to it by providing access to data keeping the personal details of the customers safe.
However, Internet companies have alleged that the NSA sometimes collects data without their consent. The agency defends itself by claiming that it collects only suspicious information.
Even U.S. residents have opposed the NSA’s surveillance program as they believe that their personal as well as financial information can easily be accessed by NSA officials.
As technology companies bank on Internet usage to gain profits, they are anxious that the NSA’s spying activities will hamper their prospects. Therefore, it is necessary that they take adequate steps to prevent tapping of user data and offer more secure connections. Google is in fact one of the first companies to take action by improving security for Gmail users.
Google currently holds a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).