ProtonMail: Email Privacy Your Way
You have to hand it to the Swiss. They always seem to stay out of wars, make great cheese, great beer, ski a lot, play a lot, keep a pristine environment pristine, and, of course, to this day, remain the world’s only (almost) true democracy. The USA is not of course, it’s a republic, but that’s not a bad thing, though.
When it comes to privacy and security, I don’t think anyone would put much faith in the USA … not with such entities such as the NSA or CIA up and running with unlimited budgets. So email based in the USA is always going to be under the scrutiny of the USA, or its agencies. Right? Well, you have to assume that? Right?
God Bless the USA, but I’m just talking privacy here! Gmail, Outlook.com, Yahoo Mail – all are based in the USA. So when you sign up for, let’s say, an Outlook.com account, you have to give them an alternate contact (email address / cell phone number) and all sorts of other information. Like the name of your first-born child. Not really… just kidding! The same is true of Gmail and Yahoo.
But at this juncture, who would actually sign up or use a Yahoo account? Not you, right? Not our informed readers, right? Only those who don’t care much about privacy or security, right? I mean, one-billion PLUS… accounts hacked? They should put up a sign like McDonald’s once did. You remember that sign, the one that said: “Over one-billion hamburgers sold”. Geez! That’s one heck of a lot of cows! Yahoo should put a sign on its email site that says: “Over one-and-a half-billion accounts hacked!” Hey, but unlike McDonald’s, at least they didn’t have to kill any cows, did they?
Anyway… finally I’m going to move on.
There a mail service that was started for use by scientists at CERN. [CERN is the European Organization for Nuclear Research, where physicists and engineers probe the fundamental structure of the universe. … The name CERN is derived from the acronym for the French “Conseil Européen pour la Recherche Nucléaire”, or European Council for Nuclear Research.] Now, you can imagine, that a bunch of big brains emailing each other about the fundamental structure of the universe, are sure not going to want every Tom, Dick and Harry reading their emails. No sir! They wanted privacy. Heck, they didn’t even want the company handling the email to be able to read what they were writing. Hence, ProtonMail was born. In those early days, ProtonMail was used by fewer than 1000 scientists at CERN, now it’s used by 1 million people.
So you’re good, old friends at Cloudeight thought we’d try it out and see if it looked like something that would be useful to the average non-eggheads like EB and me. And we were impressed. Once we set up the account, and tested it, we found it worked very much like Gmail and Outlook.com (and Yahoo… but why do you keep bringing them up?). To us that means a lot. Because we know if you sign up for a ProtonMail account, you’re not going to have to spend 117.5 hours learning how to use it. Nope! Once you get your account, you’ll be able to start using it right away. And keep this is mine. If you have some top secret info you want to share with your friends or associates, if they have ProtonMail, your emails to them are encrypted end-to-end.
And no matter what kind of mail service your recipient has, if you’re using your ProtonMail account, the mail in your account on ProtonMail is encrypted and safe. Only you can read it – not even ProtonMail’s head honcho can dig into your email trove and get that secret recipe for guanti, the one your great grandmother from Italy bequeathed to you. And better yet, neither can the CIA, FBI, or NSA.
And when you sign up for a ProtonMail account, you don’t have to give them nothin’, I tells ya! Nada. You don’t have to give them your name. You don’t have to give them an alternate email address (it’s optional). You don’t have to give them your gender, age, or cellphone number. You don’t have to give them NOTHIN! Just pick out a user name and password… and sign up. The free account lets you send/receive up to 150 emails today, and gives you 500 MB of storage. That should be enough for most of us.
Keep in mind, they do ask for an alternate email address, but it’s optional. The only reason they ask for it is in case you lose your password and need to reset your password. If you’re not worried about losing your password, don’t give them an alternate email address… it’s Switzerland, man!
Here’s a few choice words from ProtonMail for you:
ProtonMail goes to great lengths to ensure the security of your email, and we have many methods of protecting your privacy that work behind the scenes. However, if you are one of the users using ProtonMail for highly sensitive communications, we recommend taking additional steps to increase the security of your account.
First, ProtonMail will never send you emails or other communication asking you for your ProtonMail credentials. If you ever receive such an email, please disregard it as it is a phishing scam. We may occasionally ask you for login details and information if you are experiencing a login problem and are already in communication with our tech support team. However, we will never send you an unsolicited communication asking for your credentials…
In addition to providing secure web-based email, ProtonMail also provides encrypted email on your mobile device. Our highly-rated mobile applications are available for download from both the iOS App Store and the Google Play Store.
Our mobile apps are compatible with both smart phones and tablets…
So, by now, after all this information and yuck yucks, you’re either interested in ProtonMail or you’re not. If you’re looking for a really private, secure email address for really private secret emails, perhaps ProtonMail will be light up your electrons. If you’d like to read more about ProtonMail or sign up for a free ProtonMail account, just head on over to Switzerland and visit the ProtonMail website.
[Here, thanks to the magic of FastStone Capture, are some sundry screenshots for you.]