You know those confidential messages you send via email? Guess what, anyone can read them. Most emails are sent to people unencrypted over the Internet. As these messages travel from one location to another, they could be easily read by the routers they travel through.
Email is still the dominant communication mechanism for most U.S. adults. And while there have not been many known breaches, a more secure email system will better protect consumers and keep them safer and better secure confidential information (like what you might send your lawyer).
Back in college, I used to encrypt my email messages to friends using PGP keys – it was cumbersome and difficult but all the cool geeks were doing it. Today people rarely send or receive encrypted emails because of its difficulty.
A Simple Way to Encrypt Emails at the Server Level
Instead of relying on individual senders to encrypt and decrypt emails, email servers could instead encrypt emails for a given domain. For example, if gmail.com is sending an email to gm.com, gmail could ping GM’s MX record for to see if GM accepts encrypted traffic and then gmail could choose to encrypt its email. Email encryption would look similar to that of browser encryption (HTTPS) using a standard encryption layer called TLS that handles all the handshakes and certificate exchanges.
As long as your domain accepts encrypted email traffic, anyone can send you an encrypted email easily. And while email will be decrypted at the domain level (like @oracle.com or @meebo-inc.com) and not at the individual email, at least the emails will be secure from email provider to email provider be able to travel safely between destinations.
Of course, there would be a significant cost to encrypting and decrypting data and domains might want more complex policies as to who can send and receive encrypted emails, but starting this process would provide a safer internet.
Special thanks to Bryan Duxbury for his help and edits.