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Compliance, eDiscovery and Email Management

Google Mail Archive and NSA – Not a Secure Archiving Solution

Is it possible that privacy was only a benefit of a bygone era? Such a question is more than rhetorical as frequent headlines claim that many private communications are more routinely becoming public property.

With the advent of technologically supported communication especially those businesses that uses Google mail archive, correspondences have the ability to be saved, transferred, and shared, not always at the creator’s request or knowledge.

What is Enduring Security Framework?

One recent headline, Emails Reveal Close Google Relationship with NSA, illustrates the extent of this modern issue. Recent email correspondences obtained through Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA) between the National Security Agency Director General Keith Alexander and Google executives Sergey Brin and Eric Schmidt have come to light, hinting at a much closer working relationship to provide emails and other data to NSA, known as the Enduring Security Framework, between the two organizations than previously admitted.

While the events surrounding Edward Snowden publicized the government’s interest in private communications, recently discovered emails, that predate Snowden’s headlines by more than a year, showed that business emails and other information are vulnerable due to the true level of cooperation that exists between the NSA and Silicon Valley executives.

NSA and Mobile Devices

In one such communication, Alexander confesses that “…we [NSA] began focusing on the security of mobility devices. A group (primarily Google, Apple, and Microsoft) recently came to agreement on a set of core security principles. When we reach this point in our projects we schedule a classified briefing for the CEO’s of key companies…to seek their commitment…”. The information contained in this email underscores a far closer working relationship than previously admitted by either the government or the industry. Quite ironically, it is through an NSA email communication that the public discovers just how much cooperation has been behind the spying practices of the public’s email communications.

NSA and Industry Cooperation

At its most basic root, the motivation for the NSA and the industry’s cooperation is public safety. Unfortunately, the modern paradigm seems to dictate that the public give up some of its privacy to secure its own safety. Indeed Jennifer Granick, director of civil liberties at Stanford Law School’s Center for Internet and Society, concludes that this “informal information sharing has been happening within this vacuum where there hasn’t been a known, transparent, concrete, established methodology…” to ensure that the public’s privacy is protected or that the information ends up in the right hands.

It is clear that presently there is not a standard practice in place that ensures the public’s privacy or unearths dangers to the public’s safety. Instead, there seems to be a random hit and miss strategy that creates nothing but an ethical void.

Until this ethical dilemma is directly addressed by the government, the industry, and the public, such situations will continue to negate citizens’ rights to privacy. That doesn’t mean, however, that email correspondences cannot be safely and securely archived without the proper expertise.

Is Your Email Secure with Google

One take away from this is that your emails are not secure with Google mail archive or perhaps even Microsoft Office 365 archive. If you want to make sure that your business emails are archived securely, then please contact us today.

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