New ‘Snoop-Free’ Email Promises Greater Privacy

Photo by Jacob Lund /

A free email service that promises to block out snooping third parties — including the government — could become available to the public by the fall, CBS News reports.

ProtonMail, described on its website as “a global effort to protect civil liberties and build a more secure Internet,” is based in Switzerland, where strict laws protect user data.

Emails are also encrypted from sender to recipient, which means a recipient must enter a password to decrypt an email to read it. So not even ProtonMail can read what’s on its server.

ProtonMail co-founder Jason Stockman explains to CBS:

Even if we are compelled to hand over your user data, all we can give people is completely encrypted information that only the original recipient can read.

ProtonMail’s features also include self-destructing email, which allows users to set a time for an email to expire.

ProtonMail was founded at the Swiss research institution the European Organization for Nuclear Research, or CERN. The people behind ProtonMail are from universities such as the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena and Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and research institutions like ETH Zurich, according to the ProtonMail website.

The company’s first round of fundraising brought in more than $550,000 in donations from more than 10,000 supporters last summer, setting a record for software technology crowdfunding.

While the free service is theoretically available now, a recent attempt to create an account got this reply: “Due to high demand, we have hit our capacity limit. We are adding servers constantly and will send you an invitation as soon as possible.”

Guess privacy is in high demand.

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