ProtonMail Launches Encrypted Email Service For All

ProtonMail's end-to-end encrypted email service was made available to the general public Thursday, with the company switching from invite-only to public signups. 

The company also extended its secure email service to the mobile sphere, announcing two new mobile applications for both iOS and Android devices.

Originally founded to create a secure email server in light of the Edward Snowden revelations about NSA surveillance in 2013, ProtonMail first offered its encrypted email service in beta in May 2014 with invite-only sign-ups. The company claims to now have over a million active users.

Based in Geneva, ProtonMail is empowered by strict Swiss privacy laws that are outside the jurisdiction of the United States and European Union.

ProtonMail cited increased surveillance around the world as an incentive for launching their encrypted email service to the public, including the ongoing investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) into unlocking the Apple iPhone used by Syed Rizwan Farook, one of the terrorists in December's San Bernardino attack.

“Whether it is CISA in the US, the Investigatory Powers Bill in the UK, or even the recent FBI case against Apple, the forces working to undermine online privacy are growing,” ProtonMail states in a blog post online. “We understand that governments have concerns when it comes to terrorism and encryption, but undermining our collective security by weakening cryptography is the wrong approach.”

“Strong encryption and privacy are a social and economic necessity, not only does this technology protect activists and dissidents, it is also key to securing the world’s digital infrastructure,” states Dr. Andy Yen, Co-Founder of ProtonMail, in a press statement. “This is why all things considered, strong encryption is absolutely necessary for the greater good.”

Yen’s assertions parallel American sentiment, according to a recent study by email data protection company ZixCorp. A poll of 500 Americans suggest the majority see encryption as positive, with 72% associating it with better security and 25% associating it with better privacy.

Potential users can sign up for the encrypted email service online. ProtonMail offers one free email address, and then an increasing pricing structure for more domains, addresses, storage and messages sent per day.


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