Uh, yeah, we need to talk about your corporate email.
If your company, like many these days, uses Google’s paid G Suite of products — Gmail, Google Docs, Google Drive, Google Calendar, etc. — then, in all likelihood, your company has complete access to everything you do on those services. And yes, that includes the ability to read your email drafts.
We are helpfully reminded of this fact by ex-Google employee Martin Shelton, who on Wednesday published a lengthy blog post detailing all the ways Google itself can access the contents of your G Suite account. Shelton, who is currently employed as the principal researcher at the Freedom of the Press Foundation, writes that this access may result in your personal data being handed over to government officials if Google is legally compelled to do so.
“Documents within your G Suite domain are not end-to-end encrypted, meaning that Google has everything they need to read your data,” Shelton writes.
Notably, Shelton also calls attention to the fact that, depending on the version of G Suite your company uses, your employer has access to practically every single thing you do on the platform. It’s pretty wild.
For example, did you open a specific file in a shared Google Drive? That’s something your boss can find out.
“It’s important to note that your administrator has access to any data you store in this account, including your email,” Google confirms on its G Suite account permissions help page.
And sure, if you’re paying attention, you likely realized this already. The emails you send, after all, are supposed to be work related and in many cases it makes sense that your boss or IT head could pull them up. It also makes sense that a company might want to know who has or who has not accessed certain files.
However, unless you really thought about it, it may not have occurred to you that your company’s “administrators have the ability to read your draft emails live” — something Shelton writes they can do.
So be careful about what you type and where you type it. Because, if you use your company’s G Suite for work, even having the good sense to edit a frustrated email to your boss or coworker before you send it may not be enough.
These days, someone is always watching.