Should you trust a private investigator that uses Gmail?

March 9, 2019 - Reading time: 2 minutes

Way back in 2004 I first heard of the term “Gmail”. Back before the service was made public Google only allowed people to join Gmail through an invite system. At the time Google offered the best and most intuitive email interface and I was eager to use it. Invites for Gmail were actually being sold on eBay at the time. I received an invite and started using Gmail in early 2005 as one of the first users of their new service.

In 2005 I read an article which claimed that Gmail stores deleted emails on their servers (even after you delete them from your “trash” folder). I was shocked by this article and decided to write directly to Google to ask them if this was true; a representative from Google actually replied to my email (try getting an email response from them in 2019!) and to my surprise they confirmed that Gmail does retain emails for an indefinite period even after you’ve permanently deleted them from your trash folder.

More recently it has been discovered that Google scans all of your emails so that they can serve advertisements to you which are relevant to your emails. Have you ever been using Gmail and noticed that the adverts are relevant to something you’re talking about? Talk about Chinese food and you will suddenly find adverts for Chinese food appearing all over your computer. This is because Google scans and checks all emails passing through.

We are a serious investigation company and as such we take your privacy seriously. We use encrypted mail servers which are located in Germany and operated by Tutanota, which is the world’s most secure email service. This ensures that emails sent to us are stored safely and securely. Even if the email system is hacked, all email sent and received by us is protected by a high level of encryption which would prevent attackers from accessing any data.

Can you trust a PI company that uses Gmail? We feel that any PI company which relies on Gmail does not respect their client’s privacy, as private or encrypted mail servers can be purchased and setup easily.

Reference material:
Remember when Google said it would stop reading your email? The Outline
Does "Delete forever" in Gmail really mean it? Zdnet
Tutanota "The world's most secure e-mail service"