Sunday, October 20, 2019


I usually am very open to new technology, even at the cost of some privacy. For example, my home is as smart as I am able to afford it; and if Alexa listens in to conversations, I am generally not too bothered by it, especially since I am sniffing the traffic between my Echo and my router, and generally and on the surface of it, can confirm what Amazon claims with regards to when data is transmitted to the cloud.

But more recently I have taken another look at some of the free services I am using. Gmail especially; and I am not very fond of what I discovered. Turns out, if you don't have to pay for it, you are the product, and while that's been subconsciously obvious to me for a while, I refrained from doing anything about it. Until I discovered ProtonMail and ProtonVPN.

Some time ago, I switched from WhatsApp to Threema, a secure alternative (although I have to say, I'd rather see this fully released as open-source). But I liked the story of how this Swiss company, with the correspondingly strict privacy laws, and their use of end-to-end encryption, personal verification of contact identities, and so forth, is able to provide not only better security, but first and foremost, privacy. Similarly, ProtonMail offers complete privacy to its users, and while there is a free tier, most of the functionality is restricted to their "Plus" offering. If you get it, you also receive a discount on their VPN connectivity. What I like about them is their focus on privacy, without compromising on functionality. I use a PGP key for work, and I was able to integrate it with ProtonMail without a hitch. I love the fact that my emails are stored encrypted and that not even ProtonMail employees can access my data.

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