Google has deployed its “confidential mode” to set a self-destruct date on emails on mobile devices. The confidential mode came with the big research enterprise the redesign of Gmail announced earlier this year and became the default for mainstream Gmail users in July, while G Suite business customers a few more months to make the change.
The data protection feature is now available on mobile devices, Google said. via a tweet.
Confidential mode is now available on mobile devices and can help you protect sensitive information from unauthorized access. Learn more about this feature → https://t.co/lmQNElH6C1 pic.twitter.com/Nxtx2yU0pG
— Gmail (@gmail) August 16, of 2022
Google promotes Gmail as a way to protect sensitive information by allowing users to set an expiration date for individual messages or to revoke access to previously sent messages.
The feature also prevents recipients from transferring, copying, printing, or downloading their content, and allows users to require recipients to enter a unique code sent by SMS to view the email.
The authentication function is intended to protect the information in case of hacking of the recipient’s e-mail account.
While the confidential mode could help prevent information leaks, Google makes some reservations. For example, this will not prevent recipients from taking screenshots or a snapshot of the message. In addition, confidentiality could be compromised if the recipient uses a computer infected with malicious software.
Google is paying more attention to deploying the confidential mode for its G Suite users, despite the call of the confidential mode to an “information rights management” control. The feature is currently disabled by default in G Suite and users must ask their administrator for permission to access it.
Some people dispute the use of the word “confidential” by Google, arguing that this could mislead people while waiting for true confidentiality when that is not the case.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation recently (EFF) accused Google provides “misleading assurances of privacy and security” with this feature, which could prevent users from finding safer ways to send private messages.
Its main criticism is that Gmail is not an end-to-end encrypted service, so Google can read your email. In response to recent concerns about third-party developer access to Gmail user content, Google stress that nobody at Google reads Gmail messages, but noted that this was possible if necessary, to investigate a bug or abuse.