Gmail is known for lack of privacy concern. Google reads your Gmail messages to build a profiling about you. It may improves our experiences on other Google services but I found that Google is collecting non-sense information of me (get this creepy news from HN).
It may requires a lot of steps for moving on from Gmail since my other accounts on the internet mostly chainned into this particular Gmail account. Like it spreads like germ. Let’s take the first step.
After searching and reading the reviews for days, I concluded that the best alternatives that respect their customers’ privacy are Protonmail, Tutanota and Lavabit.
Protonmail was founded by scientists at CERN, a well known research organization that operates Large Hadron Collider. Protonmail data center is located in Swiss, a country that has strict privacy laws. I didn’t remember when I registered my Protonmail account but it should be a long time ago.When I tried to login into Protonmail again, I didn’t remember the password too and reset it through email recovery. Old email messages still exists but I can’t read them. Forgoting your password means lossing your key to decrypt your existing messages. Good point. But the cheapest subscription is 48 Euro per year which is too much for me.
Tutanota is a German based email service. Its webmail user interface is clean yet simple. It also allows full text searching through user’s encrypted email messages. But after found that it has no support for POP3 and IMAP, I turned down this alternative. Tutanota believed that they should protect the messages even after it arrived on their customer’s device storage, by providing its own webmail and mobile apps. I think they should leave that part to their user. We already protected our devices with password/biometric. Basic plan for Tutanota is cheap enough, it’s 12 Euro per year.
If you followed the early news about Edward Snowden, you may have heard about Lavabit. Lavabit is Snowden’s favourite email service. You can watch the story here, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NM8fAnEqs1Q
Both free option of Protonmail and Tutanota offered very limited storage. No free option on Lavabit and the basic plan is offering 5GB of storage for 30 Euro annualy, fair eonugh. Flow service of Lavabit has no webmail user interface what so ever. Even there is no mobile app client. It’s up to their user to use any kind of email client that support common protocol like POP3 and IMAP. Perhaps after Lavabit deployed stable version of Magma, they will provide specific email client (called Volcano) that works with DIME spec (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TWzvXaxR6us).
Subscription process is simple. Purchase it. Configure your email client. Done.
I choose Lavabit for some reasons :
- The annualy subscription price is reasonably okay. It’s equal to Rp. 481.000 when I purchased it.
- I want to use email service that embraces new innovation while keep maintain back compatibility with common protocol like IMAP. Lavabit did this.
- I want to support DIME spec research and development (https://github.com/lavabit/) by being customer of Lavabit.
I’ve seen my friends and colleagues were using custom domain for their primary email address. I’ll write in the next post why this custom domain matters.