Although I doubt it will ever happen, this is how Google could singlehandedly, simply, and with very little work fix email for ever. This would ensure that Phishing, Spam, email hacking and information being sent to the wrong people would be a FAR smaller problem than it is now:
Implement public key encryption in Gmail using an open format, and force all businesses to use it. I’m not saying it has to be GPG, but GPG sure is a handy open format that would fit perfectly!
Make sure that you don’t keep the private keys stored serverside - that would be a BAD thing. A simple plugin for most browsers would enable you to keep the private keys saved clientside. (Themselves encrypted using a common password, for instance.)
1. Make own keyserver.
2. Allow everyone to use keyserver, whether or not you use Gmail.
3. Implement encryption in Gmail web interface, using SIMPLE words and making sure that the end users don’t have to know the technical terms.
4. Open beta. (Google loves betas) Allow people to send encrypted mail by default, and to only allow encrypted mail to be received.
5. Announce that in 2 years noone will be able to send email to people they don’t have an established relationship with without encryption. (From Gmail.)
6. Announce that in 1 year all Google Apps accounts will be forced to use encryption on all outgoing messages.
7. Push for encryption in all messages using this simple but elegant thought: Unencrypted email is like a postcard, encrypted email is like a letter you have to sign for, then decrypt and finally keep stored in a vault.
End result: Press notice, people start taking email problems seriously, other providers forced to take part, people start using encryption, and the chinese don’t get to hack Gmail anymore.
My moms puppy has invented a new game wherein he steals my handkerchief every chance he gets. It’s getting embarrassing, this is clearly just a new version of his “sockstealinggame” - his creative output has really been suffering this quarter.
In other words - I need keywurl for the new system! (http://alexstaubo.github.com/keywurl/)
If someone would make this, I would gladly donate 20$
Having enjoyed your humor and entertainment for many many years, it is most saddening that this appears to have been a passing fad. The “memes” of 2010 have been most disappointing, none lasting more than a few weeks and none having any creativity.
Note that I’m not firing you, Internet, but this should be considered a written warning.
— The Reader