A large part of your online life revolves around your email address. It acts as a central hub for almost everything you do: travel documents and itineraries get there, it houses the receipts for all your Amazon purchases, it acts as a collection mechanism for the sites and apps you sign up for. , then forget your login information. . And, of course, there are all the emails you send.
This story originally appeared on UK WIRED.
Your inbox contains a lot of private information – and in many cases secrets – that when put together can create a profile of your interests, movements, and social connections. But email privacy can often be overlooked. The threats you face depend on who you are. For companies, phishing attacks launched by e-mail can compromise entire corporate networks. But for individuals, there are privacy concerns beyond training. if your account has been hacked.
First, data collection. While Gmail does not scan your email content to collect information for its advertising machines, your Google Account data is used to serve ads to your Gmail inbox. (More recently, Google has started putting shopping ads in your inbox.)
Google may also use certain information received in your inbox to help you with other services it provides. For example, flight reservations can be automatically added to your calendar; local maps of the areas you’re visiting, based on hotel reservations, can be downloaded to your phone. These are potentially useful and time-saving tools, but some people may not be comfortable with how your email data is used for other purposes. Aside from Google’s data collection, you might not want to give your email away to every app or service you sign up for, especially those that may be one-time use.
The other issue that people should think about is how secure email is and whether it is powerful enough for their needs. For most people, the security protections provided by the major email providers (Gmail, Outlook, Yahoo Mail) should protect emails more than enough. Access to the account can be further protected with two-factor authentication, including security keys.
Alternatively, you might want to think of a totally different email account that prioritizes privacy and uses end-to-end encryption where possible. This is especially common if you are sending confidential information or want to send emails that cannot be linked to your identity.
Put confidentiality first
If you want to move all of your emails to a more private service, there are several options available to you. The most important thing to consider before deciding is that there will be ramifications and a digital admin will be needed.
For your most sensitive online accounts, from banking and shopping to social media, you’ll need to sign in and change the email address associated with your account. Identify the accounts that are most important to you before you switch and weigh all of your options. But it is better not to delete your old account. For online accounts that don’t contain as much sensitive information, you may be able to set up forwarding from your old email to your new one. When it comes to opening a new account, there are email providers that focus on privacy and security. We have selected two here that are worth considering.
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 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 â¬ 4 per month.