Every time you send an e-mail, it is sent in plain text, going through a number of other computers before it ever reaches the intended recipient. At any one of those stops, your messages may intercepted and read by anyone. Google’s mail service, Gmail, reserves the right to keep backup copies of your e-mails stored for their records – even after you’ve permanently deleted them yourself. The Gmail client already scans your e-mail for key words to create personalized advertisements. Any number of malicious agencies could be snooping in on your conversations, unless you take a few basic precautions.