Gmail Brings Confidential Emails to Mobile

Posted on August 16, 2018 by Mehedi Hassan in Google with 10 Comments

Google is today rolling out one of Gmail’s modern features to mobile devices. The company today launched Confidential Mode for emails on Gmail, letting users protect the emails they send.

Gmail’s confidential mode can be used to help protect sensitive information. You can use the feature to set an expiration for your emails, letting you remove an email and its content after a certain period of days. You can even set a password for the emails you send. Confidential emails will automatically have the ability to forward, copy, print, and download removed, so the recipient won’t be able to make copies of your original email. They can, of course, screenshot or take photos of your emails and attachments.

Gmail’s confidential mode is an interesting feature for email that provides low-level protection for your messages. While emails sent with the confidential mode make it slightly difficult to make copies of your sensitive information and prevent unauthorized access, they can easily be cloned simply by using a device’s screenshot feature.

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Comments (10)

10 responses to “Gmail Brings Confidential Emails to Mobile”

  1. red.radar


    dirty grab by google to associate phone numbers to everyone in your address book. Doesn't make it secure because as they note... you can just screenshot the email.

    Rather pointless...

  2. chrisrut

    I think you're selling this short.

    This looks like a well thought out and comprehensive DLP (Data Loss Prevention) system, and such are important in layered enterprise security systems. A similar set of features in O365 play a crucial role in improving security.

    You're right of course, at the end-point a screenshot can spoil everything. But that's always the case: ultimately even the most secure NSA-certified systems can be bypassed by a user with a cell-phone camera. However, with DLP in place, the person violating the trust must do so deliberately and with forethought, and in some ways more importantly, accidental and inadvertent leaks are far less likely. For example, in health care, accidentally forwarding an email to a wrong name (No, not THAT "Joe!"), or a thoughtless "reply all" can have extremely serious and costly impacts. Preventing it is muuuuuch better than fixing it.

    Ergo; I think this should be interpreted as a serious move on Google's part to reinforce their security portfolio for the Enterprise.

    • jchampeau

      In reply to chrisrut:

      How is this a DLP solution? You can't tell Gmail to look for social security numbers, credit card numbers, text from press releases, etc., and block it from being sent. Someone could use this to send out Coke's secret recipe, it's just that the recipient would have to take a screenshot and print or forward the screenshot. If anything, this has the potential to weaken DLP efforts.

      Also, where can I see a list of products NSA has certified? I didn't think they were in that business.

  3. AnOldAmigaUser

    Still scanned for advertising purposes.

  4. wright_is

    Confidential emails will automatically have the ability to forward, copy, print, and download removed, so the recipient won’t be able to make copies of your original email.

    I guess that only works within GMail on the web or iOS / Android app. There is nothing in the email protocol to tell a third party client or another mail server to do this!

    I use Outlook or Windows 10 Mail for collecting my GMail spam, so I can't see either of those programs stopping me copying the text or forwarding it.

  5. waethorn

    How can anybody trust this when they can still track you with Location History shut off?

  6. YouWereWarned

    Google offers "Confidential Mode" -- ROFL!

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