Taking into account recent revelations with Edward Snowden and government surveillance programs I’ve started to thinking that maybe I should ditch my email provider and host it on my own server. It’s definitely not good when somebody is reading your emails, even if you’re innocent. Or maybe especially?
OK, so I would host my own email server and then what. Well, nothing. All my friends and family members are using Gmail or other email services from big companies. So I can be safe on my land, but once email would be sent it still would be readable by Google or others.
PGP then. I’ll encrypt my messages, so then no third party would be able to read them. Well, I’ve tried it in the past. Problem is, nobody really gets encryption. It would be impossible to teach my mother how to use it. Not to mention that most of my friends is using webmails which lack a support for encryption, so they won’t be able to read anything anyway. And even if my recipients would learn how to decrypt my emails then still they would reply to them citing entire message and would send it in clear text. They would do it because of very same reason I’ve just stated. Because their friends and family aren’t savvy enough to handle encryption, so they won’t use it at all. Why to bother only for some geek.
So unless you’re exchanging emails only with geeks I don’t see how you could protect your emails from eavesdropping. Schneier is right that technology is there, but we need to make it easy enough for everyone to use. And even that maybe not enough. We must make it cool enough, so everybody would want to use it.