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Gmail: Encryption is now mandatory

Four years after Google turned on HTTPS by default in Gmail, and less than a year since the Edward Snowden document leaks, Google removes your ability to opt out of encryption.

Google has removed your ability to get out of encrypting your Gmail, the company announced Thursday.

This follows a 2010 decision to make HTTPS the default for Gmail communications, but up until today Google had given users the ability to not use encryption. Four years ago, the company explained the opt-out as necessary because encryption could "make your mail slower."

"The team has been working hard to mitigate any performance costs, which now puts us in a position where it no longer makes sense to allow HTTP connections," a Google spokesperson told CNET. "The large majority of users already use HTTPS connections, so this is the final step in the journey."

Google notes that Gmail messages are encrypted internally, as they move about Google's servers and data centers, a measure implemented in the wake of the Edward Snowden leaks.

The company also boasted about Gmail's stability, with service available 99.978 percent of the time.