Google tweets a link about “encrypting your Gmail” that isn’t about encrypting your Gmail

Google sent out a tweet earlier today with the following text:

An easy way to encrypt your Gmail, from the Ontario Canada Privacy Commissioner (PDF) –

It links to a white paper titled “If You Want To Protect Your Privacy, Secure Your Gmail”. It’s a guide about setting up the FireGPG Firefox extension, or using Thunderbird with Enigmail, right?

Well, no. The paper, apparently co-authored by Google Canada and the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario, explains how to connect to Gmail using an SSL-encrypted connection. This of course is to “encrypting your Gmail” what locking your mailbox is to writing your secret love letters on postcards.

As if the public wasn’t confused and uninformed enough about security and privacy issues relating to email, we now have big companies and government agencies muddying the waters. There is a big difference between “encrypting your Gmail” and “encrypting your connection to Gmail’s servers”, and the paper doesn’t make that distinction clear.

If you *really* want to encrypt your email, check out this Instructables article.

(Thanks to @vigeek for the heads up.)