A group of 38 computer scientists, law professors and security experts is urging Google to do to more to protect Gmail, Google Calendar and Google Docs from snooping. Specifically, the group is asking Google to use a standard encryption technology, known as HTTPS, that is commonly used by online banks and other Web sites to protect users’ data while in transit. Google already offers HTTPS, which stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure, as an option in Gmail and other services, but it is disabled by default and few users know about it or bother to turn it on, the group said.
“Google customers who compose e-mail, documents, spreadsheets, presentations and calendar plans from a public connection (such as open wireless networks in coffee shops, libraries, and schools) face a very real risk of data theft and snooping, even by unsophisticated attackers,” the group wrote in an open letter to Eric Schmidt, Google’s chief executive. “Tools to steal information are widely available on the Internet.”
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