Replace Your Email

January 2019

Most Americans use so-called free email services that record and analyze every email that they send or receive. Also, many email services do not encrypt their emails, which means that anyone can intercept and read them. Here are some email systems that do not spy on you and which encrypt your email.


My View: Protonmail is the Best Email Alternative


According to Forbes magazine, Protonmail is “The only email system the NSA [National Security Agency] can’t access,” because it is encrypted from end to end. This means that even Protonmail cannot read your email messages.

Even when you sign up, Protomail requires no personal information from you so that they do not know who you are. Also, Protonmail keeps no IP logs that can be linked to your email account. Thus even a court order directed at Protonmail can reveal nothing about you or the content of your emails. Protonmail is incorporated in Switzerland and all of its servers are located there. User data are protected by Swiss privacy laws.

Protonmail is so secure that, if you lose your password, you will never be able to access your account again.

Protonmail was originally developed by a group of scientists working for CERN (The European Organization of Nuclear Research), the world’s largest particle research laboratory, which is why it is called Protonmail. Currently, Protonmail has over a million users worldwide.

However: There is one major drawback to using Protonmail. Most of those who receive your emails or who send emails to you will not have encrypted email programs. Therefore your emails to them, as well as their emails to you, will be monitored, recorded, and analyzed by Big Tech. It is only when you communicate with someone who also uses Protonmail, or some other encrypted email service, that your emails can be kept completely private.

There is one way to send an encrypted email to someone who does not have an encrypted email account. Protonmail allows you to send encrypted messages to a secure website, which can be accessed with a password, so that the receiver of the email can read it there. They are also able to send encrypted messages to you from that website. A regular email message is sent to alert them when you send an encrypted email to the site. 

The basic Protonmail account is free. Protonmail makes money by offering paid accounts at various levels of service, including accounts for businesses and other organizations. The free account is limited to 150 messages per day, with a maximum of three folders to hold those messages, and 500 MB of email storage. Paid accounts currently start at five dollars per month.

For its free version, Protonmail allows only web access to your email. You cannot set up an email client on your personal computer. Even for paid accounts, Protonmail has no POP3 support, although IMAP and SMTP are supported through its paid services.

You can also access Protonmail through their Apple IPhone app and a Google Android app.

Protonmail is open source software, which means that the code that runs the email system is open to public inspection and public audit.


Another Encrypted Email Service: Tutanota


The name Tutanota is a combination of two Latin words. “Tuta” means “secure or protected” while “nota” means “message or note.”

Tutanota is an encrypted email service that is nearly identical to Protonmail, although it does differ in some details.  The free account offers twice the storage space as Protonmail. Also, Tuntanota is based in Germany and is thus subject to German privacy laws, which are not as strict as Swiss laws. It is also widely believed that German intelligence services, as well as other intelligence services, have access to this system.

Other than these considerations, Tutanota is much like Protonmail.  


Your Desktop Email Client

If you download your email to your computer to view it, rather than viewing it online, you are using a desktop email client. And those email clients that are most in use are Big Tech spying machines. You need to change to a free, open source email client.


My View: Thunderbird is the Best Desktop Email Client Alternative

Thunderbird comes in versions for the Windows, Apple, and Linux operating systems. Although further development of Thunderbird has been discontinued, an active group continues to provide maintenance updates. While there are other free and open source email clients available, Thunderbird is generally considered to be one of the top choices in terms of security and usability.

Two other free, open source email clients are: Mailspring and Claws Mail.