Ever since the Watergate scandal in the 1970s, Americans have been wary of Big Brother watching their every move. And while this might be an overreaction by some people, it’s important to be aware that online privacy is a privilege, not a right.
Many accounts are created in Gmail or Yahoo for different needs, but sometimes the user forgets to use a secure email.
The authorities demand that US mail service providers such as Gmail and Yahoo give them access to even full accounts. Although this requires a proper warrant, it appears from recent years that these can be obtained very quickly by the various secret services. In Europe, it is also possible that mail service providers will be obliged to do so, even if they may have to meet more stringent conditions. Therefore, to avoid such cases, choose an email provider that encrypts the contents of your account.
One example is the Swiss ProtonMail. To use it, you will need two passwords. The first, as usual, gives you access to your account, and the second allows you to decrypt the contents of your mailbox. This again means that it is not worth forgetting this password because there are no reminders, no resets, and our mail remains encrypted forever. This also means, of course, that no matter what pressure the authorities put on the company, the most they can hand over is an indecipherable mass of data – at least if you choose a strong enough password.
Another significant advantage of ProtonMail is that our communications are encrypted. When corresponding with friends who use ProtonMail, this is automatic. With other providers, it’s a bit more complicated to manage encrypted messaging. When sending a letter, you can request encryption by clicking on the little padlock icon below, which requires a password (not the one associated with your account!) and a little help to decrypt it. The recipient will receive a link to access the ProtonMail site and, if the password is guessed, can view and reply to the letter securely.
You might think you’re safe in your inbox because your email provider doesn’t give you to the authorities. While this isn’t true, you can still ensure that your emails are secure!