Comcast plans to encrypt email exchanged with Google's Gmail

Comcast plans to work with Google to encrypt email exchanged between its own servers and Gmail, a Comcast spokesman said on Tuesday night.

Comcast supports Transport Layer Service encryption for email messages, and Comcast employees “plan to ramp up with Gmail in next few weeks,” a Comcast spokesman said via a Twitter message. More details will be revealed at the Messaging, Malware and Mobile Anti-Abuse Working Group meeting next week, he said, which will be held in Brussels. Comcast is a meeting sponsor.

In response to growing customer concerns about email messages being slurped up and examined by government agencies, Google released a new addition to its transparency report on Tuesday, revealing that roughly half of the email sent to its Gmail servers isn’t encrypted. It also announced plans for a tool to encrypt email messages securely from the sender all the way to the recipient.

But the report page itself also revealed which service providers encrypt email and which do not. Comcast was shown as one of the worst offenders, with less than 1 percent of its email sent and received by Gmail encrypted. That apparently will change.

It’s not clear, however, whether email sent to and from Comcast will be encrypted—and, to be fair, how much email is actually sent from Comcast domains. Still, given that Comcast is essentially the largest media company in the United States and one of the cable giants on the opposite side of the net neutrality debate from Google, it's not entirely surprising that Google might put the screws to a company like Comcast. Comcast, however, apparently isn't sitting still.

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