These Harvard And MIT Kids Say They’ve Made NSA-Proof Email
Those who worry that Gmail or the National Security Agency may be rifling through their emails now have a new alternative: ProtonMail, a super-secure email service created by students from Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
“It was the Snowden leaks that got us started,” ProtonMail founder and front-end developer Jason Stockman told The Huffington Post. “A lot of us at the time were working at CERN, the nuclear research facility in Switzerland, and we started hearing about all this and we really freaked out. We ended up posting on Facebook about privacy issues, and it just grew from there.”
ProtonMail’s open beta launched on Saturday, and its security measures are intense: end-to-end encryption and user authentication protocols so rigorous even the creators can’t read user emails. “If we can’t read it, we obviously can’t turn it over to any government agencies,” one of ProtonMail’s creators, Andy Yen, explained to BostInno in an interview.
Those who want to put ProtonMail’s code to the test can have at it: Anyone using the Web version of ProtonMail can right-click the page and hit “View Source” for a peek at the encryption and decryption protocols.
“Nothing is compressed, which means it will take an extra half second to load,” Stockman told CryptoCoinsNews. “But on the upside, it’s fully viewable and auditable in real time.”
Last summer, at the height of anti-Snowden investigations, the U.S. government shut down several secure email services similar to ProtonMail. As a result, ProtonMail has chosen to incorporate in Switzerland, a country with some of the most stringent privacy protections in the world. The .ch domain name makes it unlikely that ProtonMail will go the way of SilentMail or LavaBit.