Sometimes you have to give up a little privacy in order to find out how much — or how little — privacy you really have. So I handed over the keys to my Gmail account to Cesar Hidalgo, a professor at the MIT Media Lab and the designer of a program called Immersion.
The website Groklaw, which for 10 years demystified complex issues involving technology and the law, is shutting down. Editor Pamela Jones writes that she can't run the site without email, and that since emails' privacy can't be guaranteed, she can no longer do the site's work.
If the past few months have taught us anything, it's that everything we do online leaves a digital trail. While it may seem like there's not much we can do about it, there are some tech companies that are working to obscure that trail a little bit, with a process known as encryption.
People who use Gmail and other free email systems have no reasonable expectation of privacy, according to papers filed in a U.S. district court by lawyers for Google. The filing was made in June, when Google moved to dismiss a case accusing it of breaking federal and state laws by scanning users' emails to help target its advertising campaigns.
In making its case, Google compared sending an email to other types of communications where privacy cannot be expected: