My keen interest in online security and privacy has recently blossomed into a full on obsession. Some may say it's because I'm eccentric and weird, but it's at least partly because of the crazy new laws going down in this country. There is an excellent chance that all of your e-mails and IM conversations are at the very least being analyzed and logged. I doubt anyone actually reads them, but you never know.
The common argument against online privacy measures is "if you have nothing to hide, why do you care?". True, I'm not some criminal mastermind, but it's not unreasonable for people to think that I am. Many people in real life think that I'm a drug dealer for some reason. The forums that I visit to read about privacy concerns are often hot beds for credit card scammers. I think credit card scamming is retarded and would never do it, but I'd hate to be accused of being guilty by association.
There are also a lot of people sniffing traffic. The average internet user doesn't realize that it's not particularly difficult to intercept traffic on the internet - especially if you're using a wireless or shared connection. Encrypted communication can be intercepted, but not decoded - making it useless.
On Shane Dowling's Blog
Gmail isn't secure or private, Google have admitted this. You simply cannot expect privacy from any service that you don't have control of. Thankfully your email doesn't have to be tied a mail service like Gmail, Yahoo or Microsoft. You can simply roll your own email server with your own domain name and easily create an (admittedly minimalist) Gmail equivalent.
Before you start
If you think this guide is too complex, that's totally understandable. Running your own mail server requires a reasonable amount of technical experience. If you're interesting in getting away from a service like Gmail and want a good alternative check-out https://mykolab.com/. It costs around 10 bucks a month for 2GB of storage, which isn't too bad. If you think this isn't enough space, you could either pay for more or have a mail client like thunderbird offline all non-essential email to your desktop.
What you're not getting