Self-destruct messages for Gmail sparks concern regarding government records

Posted on by KNBT

Self-destruct messages for Gmail sparks concern regarding government records

Not too long ago, Google had announced a self-destructing feature for Gmail, which allowed users to set an expiration period for a particular mail. While that excited several users who wanted their messages to stay in someone’s inbox for a limited period of time, it raised a major concern — what about those having intentions of misusing the feature?

As reported by Motherboard, several people are concerned about various government organisations across the world misusing the feature to their benefits. In a letter to Google’s Sundar Pichai, National Freedom of Information Coalition’s President Malcolm J. Leary says, “As more local and state governments and their various agencies seek to use Gmail, there is the potential that state public records laws will be circumvented by emails that ‘disappear’ after a period of time. The public’s fundamental right to transparency and openness by their governments will be compromised.”

Therefore, to retain transparency in governments across the world, Leary suggests that Google should disable the feature for government Gmail ids, i.e. government employees won’t be able to set self-destruct on their emails and anyone mailing to a government employee won’t be able to set self-destruct on that mail.

It’s not yet known whether Google will be doing something to reserve people’s right to a transparent governance. Self-destruct for Gmail was introduced a few weeks ago as a part of new confidential mode for GSuite members. The confidential mode also allows the sender to restrict the number of ways the receiver can interact with the message.

 

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