If you’re ready to stop providing an advertising company with full access to all of your email communication, there are other alternatives out there. This is especially important for any non-American, as the American intelligence apparatus is specifically built to spy on your communications, and providers there have a history of giving up access to user’s private emails. If you don’t worry about your emails being used against you today, or some day in the future, this post is not for you. If you’re not happy with your emails being sold, researched, or given away, and are looking for alternatives, there are many. The two big privacy centric email providers are Protonmail and Tutanota. You can create a free account on either of these websites right now, and then forward your Gmail to this new account until your friends, family, and colleagues have updated their bookmarks. Simple. This not only applies to Gmail of course, but anyone reading this that uses Hotmail, Outlook, Yahoo, GMX, Hushmail, and the related others; it’s time to choose to support more privacy centric alternatives.
There are known cases of free email providers giving up their user’s emails from United States, Canada, and Germany, so choosing where your email is hosted, and where the provider is based, should also be a consideration.
For a detailed list of alternatives, check out Prxbx.com’s handy comparison table. You’ll also note they’ve removed Tutanota from their list due to Tutanota’s blog post about Trump’s family using their services.
If you want to do your own research, a couple important things to consider:
- Is the software open source? Information Security Auditors should be able to look at the code for backdoors.
- Where are the server(s) as well as the company itself?
- Are the emails encrypted on the server, so only you can read them? Does the service support or even mandate end-to-end encryption to protect your communication from Man-In-The-Middle (MITM) attacks?
- What are the conditions, if any, that the company will use, sell, or give up your emails? (research? law enforcement request? to provide you ads?)
From my perspective, if you don’t want to do your own research, which of course you should, I recommend Protonmail.