One of the enduring myths of the internet is the one involving privacy. This article on CNN titled U.S. enables Chinese hacking of Google takes umbrage at the notion that everyones email is secret and private. And while this myth might comfort many, the truth is that email was NEVER private. Every email host, every email relay was able, and in fact, completely open to reading, scanning and snooping, by man-in-the-middle processes and furthermore always has been since the beginning of the internet. And even if everyone was using https or ssh with their email clients while connected to their mail server, it did not encrypt the contents of the email. It may have minimized the likelihood of it being read in the data stream, but unless you were in the habit of encrypting your email with PGP or some other cypher your email and hence your ‘Privacy’ is negligible, hence, the privacy myth.
And while on the CNN article the discussions brought up the same old saw that governments HAD to have backdoors to snoop on email communications to prevent crime and terrorism without the concern that at no time has it proved itself in practice. Anyone wishing to sent communication, and have it stay private can do so, even in the face of a dedicated snoop. Anyone who had even browsed an encryption textbook can create a completely uncrackable code, and I mean uncrackable by anyone, by any means and present their messages in plain text in emails. Hacking them by any government is merely security theater and fundamentally has NO value.
If you seek ‘privacy’ stop sending anything through the internet unless it is encrypted by at least PGP (if not something more substantial). The only thing Google has lost in this privacy issue is the trust of their users to protect their email ‘publications’ on the internet. Now everyone will know that they have another recipient to all their emails, in other words, all the other governments, hackers, scammers and spammers in the internet.