ProtonMail Amends Its Policy After Giving Up an Activist’s Data

Little Mac

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ProtonMail Amends Its Policy After Giving Up an Activist’s Data

THIS WEEKEND, NEWS broke that the anonymous email service ProtonMail turned over a French climate activist’s IP address and browser fingerprint to Swiss authorities. The move seemed to contradict the company's own privacy-focused policies, which as recently as last week stated, "By default, we do not keep any IP logs which can be linked to your anonymous email account."

The email service says it was unable to appeal a Swiss court’s demand to log the IP address of a French climate advocate.
graphic collage of illustrations of envelopes fingerprints and Swiss flag elements
As recently as last week, ProtonMail's website said, “By default, we do not keep any IP logs which can be linked to your anonymous email account.”

THIS WEEKEND, NEWS broke that the anonymous email service ProtonMail turned over a French climate activist’s IP address and browser fingerprint to Swiss authorities. The move seemed to contradict the company's own privacy-focused policies, which as recently as last week stated, "By default, we do not keep any IP logs which can be linked to your anonymous email account."

After providing the activist's metadata to Swiss authorities, ProtonMail removed the section that had promised no IP logs, replacing it with one saying, "ProtonMail is an email that respects privacy and puts people (not advertisers) first."

No Logging ‘By Default’
As usual, the devil is in the details—ProtonMail's original policy simply said that the service does not keep IP logs "by default." However, as a Swiss company, ProtonMail was obliged to comply with a Swiss court's demand that it begin logging IP address and browser fingerprint information for a particular ProtonMail account.

That account was operated by the Parisian chapter of Youth for Climate, which Wikipedia describes as a Greta Thunberg-inspired movement focused on school students who skip Friday classes to attend protests.

According to multiple statements ProtonMail issued on Monday, it was unable to appeal the Swiss demand for IP logging on that account. The service could not appeal both because a Swiss law had actually been broken and because "legal tools for serious crimes" were used—tools that ProtonMail believes were not appropriate to the case at hand, but which it was legally require to comply with.
 

Little Mac

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People who think Swiss laws will protect them conveniently forget that Switzerland has agreements with Europol. Europol want what you have? Sorry for you. France wants what you have? They just ask Europol for it.

Brexit seems like a great idea all of a sardine LOL
 
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GhostSixFour

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Nov 9, 2009
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If you're doing like this, that could involve jail time, then why would you even trust a mail provider like this? Do as much as you can to protect yourself.
 

eg2505

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just because we say we don't, doesn't mean we CANT, and who said anything about making it public knowledge.

Im sure its happened before without anybody finding out and writing an article about it.
 

gregmcc

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Not surprising. Everything is tracked even if they say its not. Same goes with all these VPN companies that say they dont keep logs.
 
Joined
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People who think Swiss laws will protect them conveniently forget that Switzerland is part of the EU and obliged to obey those laws. Europol want what you have? Sorry for you. France wants what you have? They just ask Europol for it.

Brexit seems like a great idea all of a sardine LOL

Switzerland is not part of the EU.
 

dualmeister

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Considers deleting Proton account.
Wait ... I don't use it for dodgy stuff :ROFL:
Still better than GMail.
 

nightjar

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Aug 2, 2008
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People who think Swiss laws will protect them conveniently forget that Switzerland has agreements with Europol. Europol want what you have? Sorry for you. France wants what you have? They just ask Europol for it.

Brexit seems like a great idea all of a sardine LOL
People would do well to remember that Swiss morals are a bit elastic as is shown by its neutrality and trading with both sides during WWll and the fight to recover assets of Holocaust victims. They were happy to accept Jewish cash after which many depositors were sent back to the Nazis although there is some dispute as to numbers.
 

SoldierMan

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People would do well to remember that Swiss morals are a bit elastic as is shown by its neutrality and trading with both sides during WWll and the fight to recover assets of Holocaust victims. They were happy to accept Jewish cash after which many depositors were sent back to the Nazis although there is some dispute as to numbers.

WTF :oops:
 
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