privacy wars

Harvard and MIT Students Launch ‘NSA-Proof’ Email Service

Edward Snowden would approve.
ProtonMail was created in Switzerland, where privacy laws are totally chill. (Facebook)

ProtonMail was created in Switzerland, where privacy laws are totally chill. (Facebook)

Troubled by Edward Snowden’s revelations about the U.S. government’s snooping habits, a group of Harvard and MIT students created an email service they insist is completely NSA-proof.

The new email platform is called ProtonMailBostInno reports. The service’s five brainy founders met while working at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) in Switzerland. They bonded over a shared desire to build an email service even more secure than Lavabit, Mr. Snowden’s now-defunct email service of choice.

Following a few weeks in private beta, ProtonMail is launching its open beta phase starting today.

On ProtonMail’s website, the creators explain what makes their service so well-protected.

First, they’re incorporated in Switzerland, “which offers some of the strongest privacy protection in the world for both individuals and entities,” the site says. They also use to end-to-end encryption and take extremely intense user authentication measures, meaning your data is apparently inaccessible to the ProtonMail team, let alone any government.

“Even we don’t have the ability to read that email,” One of ProtonMail’s creators, Andy Yen, told BostInno. “If we can’t read it, we obviously can’t turn it over to any government agencies.”

ProtonMail also has a SnapChat like feature, wherein users can program their emails to self-destruct once they’ve been in a recipient’s inbox for a certain period of time.

Techies have been working for a while to produce ultra-private messaging services. Earlier this year, we reported on Blackphone, the encrypted smartphone from Madrid. There was also Confide, the messaging app that uses encryption to keep your sexts as private as possible.

The service is free and supposedly easy to use, so if you’re pissed that Google’s allowed to rifle through all your Gmail messages, why not check it out?

Follow Jordyn Taylor on Twitter or via RSS. jtaylor@observer.com