So I don't think it's ever really come up on here, but on some of the other Gawker related sites like Lifehacker and Gizmodo email encryption has come up from time to time. The most recent post on Giz was "How to Encrypt Everything".
A post just before that one was in regards to "Google Now Offers End-to-End Encryption on Email".
And Alan Henry, my favorite Lifehacker writer (sorry Eric, you may have been at AP for ages but Alan has you beat cause he's just a really chilled and cool guy), had one from this time last year called "How to Encrypt Your Email and Keep Your Conversations Private".
So in light of revelations over the past year regarding NSA spying and mass surveillance I've gone on a number of rants (almost always while drunk on my birthday) about the NSA and what they're doing and why encryption is not a bad thing at all, albeit it is an inconvenient thing for the average person.
Well, something popped up on my radar today that seemed worth sharing with all of you. ProtonMail!
What is ProtonMail? Well, as you can see from that little link, it's "end-to-end encrypted email, based in Switzerland". They currently have an IndieGoGo campaign going on to come up with the necessary funds to get everything going. It should be noted they're already up and running and now a lot of it is just extra stuff they want to do and add to the service (like custom domains, mobile apps, encrypted chat and encrypted file storage). They passed the funding needed to handle custom domains less than thirty minutes ago (as there is a story on Ars regarding issues with PayPal freezing their account and naturally that hit reddit and things are blowing up from there).
Why should any of this matter to you? Honestly, I can't answer that. Privacy is something we should all inherently care about. Sadly, in this day and age with Facebook and Twitter and various websites popping up left and right letting you share anything and everything the average person doesn't seem to care a lick about their privacy. This saddens me greatly, but only because the average person (or at least American) seems to not give a damn at all about anything and everything the U.S. government is doing in pursuit of "the war on terror". (Which to me is just basically doing as they please and using fear mongering to get the public to roll over and go along with anything and everything they want to do and the majority of the public is too gullible/naive/stupid to pay attention to anything in the way of facts. Did you know you stand a more likely chance of dying by accidentally falling out of bed than you do of ever being a victim, not necessarily casualty, of a terrorist attack? Ditto accidentally asphyxiating from the blankets you cover yourself in while sleeping. Now that's fucked up. And yet I don't see anyone demanding the government protect them from their own beds and blankets.)
But I digress, the point is privacy should matter to you and to that end encryption is something worth looking into in regards to your emails. Most attempts to get things like PGP (pretty good privacy) setup are difficult at best for the average person. While solutions do appear to be on the way, such as DarkMail (brought to you by the man who invented PGP himself, among others), they're still far enough away from being used daily or even created, much less released, that they are non-viable options for the majority.
To that end, the news that ProtonMail is live (albeit in beta, but giving access to those who donate via the IndieGoGo campaign) and already doing what you might want it to do (encrypting your emails) is most welcome. It's downright amazing and exciting!
Head over to their website and read up on all they offer and why they're doing what they're doing. It's an interesting if short read. I do believe I'll be hitting up that IndieGoGo page to donate/signup come Thursday night.
And for those who will inevitably stumble onto this post and say "you're not important enough to be spied on" or "if you have nothing to hide..." I say "fuck off, I will dismiss any such replies outright". Seriously, if you don't care about your privacy then that's fine. That's your prerogative. Some of us though do. I am exercising my right to privacy and if doing so means signing up for a service like this then so be it. Hell, at worst it's just another awesome email account I'll have that no trolls/spammers or relatives or people I don't want to know won't have to be able to bother me at. So it's a double win for me.
If anyone has any questions about such a service or things related to privacy and whatnot, I'm no expert on any of it but I can do my best to answer any questions like usual. Keeping in mind I am fallible and if you do want to come in here and trip me up or point out errors in anything I've stated you'd do well to do so in a non-dick manner. There's a difference between clarifying an issue or information and being a dick. That difference though appears to be lost on a great many online. [shrugs] Not much I can do about any of that though. Not yet... when I'm Supreme Overlord though, everyone watch the fuck out. Anyone who wears a "don't blame me, I voted for Kodos" shirt on the day I come to power will be spared. Well, mostly spared. Can't play favorites when it comes time to issue out punishments, now can I? : )