Forget about Gmail. It’s time to switch to a privacy-focused email provider

Based in Switzerland, ProtonMail is protected by some of the strictest privacy laws in the world. On top of that, it has a bunch of security features designed to keep your email and identity private. The company claims that its emails are end-to-end encrypted, with the company unable to access any user data. “The data is encrypted on the client side using an encryption key to which we do not have access,” he says on his website.

In addition to end-to-end encryption, ProtonMail does not require any personal information to create a new account, including IP logs. It has also made all of its code open source so that anyone on the web can inspect it for coding flaws or vulnerabilities. There is a free option, which only has 500MB of storage, but also paid options which include more features and start at € 4 per month.

LavaBit has had a turbulent history. Former surveillance whistleblower Edward Snowden abruptly shut down in August 2013 after US authorities attempted to do so comply with government oversight. However, it was revived in 2017 by the same team behind the original service, citing the need for more secure messaging options.

Lavabit takes a bit more configuration than ProtonMail – you will need to configure its settings to work with a external mail client – but once you do, the body, metadata, and transport layer of your messages will be end-to-end encrypted. There are three levels of security protection provided by the service, ranging from “trusted mode” to “paranoid mode”. The basic service costs $ 30 per year, with a premium tier offering more storage and larger messages.

Create burner email accounts

There are reasons why Gmail and Outlook have billions of users. They are both free and relatively easy to use and come with enhanced business services through their cloud platforms. These two reasons can make it impossible to completely abandon your current provider. When this is the case, there is another option for certain scenarios: burn email accounts.

Email accounts configured for specific one-time use may prevent you from receiving advertising or marketing spam. But increasingly, companies are starting to incorporate account burner principles into their departments to prevent other businesses from collecting excessive user data. This is primarily achieved by creating a disposable email address – a mix of random numbers and letters – which can be used to sign up for a service and then forward the emails to your daily email account, if you wish. that they are transmitted.

Burner Mail is perhaps the most advanced burner mail service on the market. “Burner Mail generates a unique, anonymous email for each service you sign up for, making it very difficult for businesses and advertisers to follow you online,” the company says on its website. Once you have registered for Mail burner you can set which account the service forwards your messages to and whether you want messages to be forwarded from anywhere you sign up. It also allows you to reply to messages with a burner – there is a free plan and a premium plan.

Apple and Firefox are both dabbling in the use of burner-style email to help people protect their privacy. The iPhone giant presented Connect with Apple to allow people to join new services and this includes the option to “hide my email”. If this option is selected, Apple creates a disposable email associated with your iCloud sign-in information, and then forwards the messages to your usual address. Mozilla, the creator of Firefox, is also developing a similar email concealment service called Firefox Relay, which is in private beta and has a waiting list for new registrants.


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June J. Lopez

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