Email provider Tutanota says AT&T is blocking user access

UPDATE 2/14: AT&T says it has now fixed connection errors. “As I mentioned yesterday, there has never been a blockage,” the carrier’s spokesperson told PCMag.

Tutanota, meanwhile, plans to monitor customer feedback to verify that the issue has been corrected.

Original story:

An encrypted email provider calls AT&T to block user access to the company’s website and app.

As of January 25, Tutanota has received complaints from some US-based users who say they haven’t been able to access their inboxes over AT & T’s mobile connections.

“As AT&T hasn’t fixed the issue after more than two weeks, we are publicly reaching out in hopes of getting the attention of the right people at AT&T,” Tutanota wrote in a blog post Thursday.

The email provider is based in Germany, so they haven’t been able to confirm the issues firsthand. However, Tutanota said that PCMag AT&T customers based in Chicago, Omaha and St. Louis have all reported connection errors.

The email provider also claims that AT&T is aware of the problem; Tutanota points to a Tweeter the carrier posted Feb. 5, in which it said “Our team is investigating, but they need more information.”

However, AT&T rejects Tutanota’s accusations that the mobile operator is deliberately restricting access to the messaging service.

“We are not blocking anything,” said an AT&T spokesperson. “We are aware that some of our customers have reported issues accessing Tutanota’s email service. We are working with Tutanota to resolve this issue as quickly as possible.”

PCMag was able to access Tutanota via an AT&T mobile connection in California. The reasons why other customers are having problems remain unknown. Nonetheless, AT & T’s slow response prompted Tutanota to say that the whole picture highlights the need for net neutrality protections in the United States.

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“Such blackouts show just how much power ISPs (Internet Service Providers) have over our online experience, and it’s shocking,” the email provider said. “If ISPs can block access to certain websites or services, they control the Internet. It would be naïve to believe that the American ISPs will not use this power. Without net neutrality, ISPs can – and will charge – additional fees. “

In late 2017, the FCC voted to repeal the Obama-era net neutrality rules, designed to prevent ISPs from limiting Internet access to websites based on their content. Current FCC Chairman Ajit Pai defended the repeal, saying Obama-era rules imposed “strict regulations” on the internet industry that threatened to stifle investment and innovation. .

To prevent ISPs from engaging in content blocking and speed limiting, the FCC transferred law enforcement to the United States Federal Trade Commission.

As for Tutanota, the company recommends that affected customers on AT&T use a VPN service or the Tor browser to bypass the suspected blockage.

Editor’s Note: This story has been updated with comments from AT&T.

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June J. Lopez

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