By now, it is well-known that for many of the free products we use on the internet, such as Facebook and Google, we are paying with our identity. Hoping to get a free product, we are becoming the product. As Adam Conover puts it in this video —
If you’re not paying, you’re not the customer - you’re the product.
By the way, do watch that video. In a funny and casual way, it shows the real price we pay when we use these supposedly free websites.
Fortunately, we can get out of this system. in this post Global surveillance disclosures age, it’s high-time that we do so, starting with the products we use everyday. Free Internet activists around the world are working hard to help us in this aspect.
Switching to ProtonMail
I had heard about ProtonMail a few times before, it sounded interesting, but I never took it seriously. Yesterday, when I was going through the blog of a senior of my college who’s kind of a mentor figure, I noticed that his public email is a ProtonMail one. It caught my attention obviously, as 90+ percent of email addresses I see are Gmail ones. After looking it up and reading up about it, I decided to get one.
Pros of ProtonMail
The ProtonMail clients do the encryption and decryption of the emails in the client app itself, all the servers receive are encrypted mails. This end-to-end encryption ensures total privacy of the conversations.
All datacenters are located in Switzerland, outside US and EU jurisdictions. From Wikipedia —
Under Swiss law all surveillance requests from foreign countries must go through a Swiss court and are subject to international treaties. Prospective surveillance targets are notified and can appeal the request in court.
A Point about Resetting Password
All of the stored emails are encrypted with your public key, and the corresponding private key is symmetrically encrypted using your password. So if you reset your password, the previous private key becomes undecryptable and thus unrecoverable, as it was stored after symmetrical encryption with your old password. And consequently, all of the past emails will be unrecoverable, because we don’t possess the private key required to decrypt them anymore.
My ProtonMail Address
You can contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org! My primary email address is still email@example.com though, so don’t rely on me regularly checking the ProtonMail.