Swiss courts forced her to register and disclose a user's IP address and browser fingerprints.
Over the weekend, it was reported that ProtonMail, an anonymous email service focused on security/privacy, had handed over the IP address and fingerprint of an active French browser to Swiss authorities. This appears to go against the service's policies, which were recently announced last week, "By default, we don't keep any IP reports that could be associated with your anonymous email account."
After providing active metadata to Swiss authorities, ProtonMail deleted the part that promised to enter the entire IP address, saying that "ProtonMail is an email that respects privacy and not individuals (not advertisers)" prioritizing and replacing.
No "default" login
As usual, the devil is in the details - ProtonMail's main policy is simply to say that the service is "default" does not protect IP reports. However, ProtonMail, as a Swiss company, was required to comply with a Swiss court order requiring the entry of an IP address and browser fingerprint information for a specific ProtonMail account. The account was run by the Youth Climate Administration in Paris, which Wikipedia describes as a movement inspired by Greta Tonberg, targeting school students attending Friday classes to protest. The Switzerland app cannot be used to log VoIP to this account due to a violation of Swiss law and due to the use of “legal remedies for serious crimes” – tools that ProtonMail believes are not appropriate for the case in question, but are nonetheless legally bound to comply with it.
Open your Tor Browser
In addition to removing the misleading reference if the "default" login policy is correct, ProtonMail has committed to using the Tor network to confirm activists. The new "Your data, your rules" section on the ProtonMail homepage links directly to a landing page that collects information about using Tor to access ProtonMail.Advertising
Using Tor to access ProtonMail may do what ProtonMail cannot legally do: obliterating the IP address of its users because the Tor network itself tracks the origin of the user's network before the packet arrives. Information from ProtonMail - because it never receives it in the first place.
It should be noted that the anonymity that Tor provides depends on technical tools, not policies - which could serve as an example of a double-edged sword book. If a government agency or other threat can hack the Tor nodes through which your traffic passes in a way that provides a way to trace the source, no policy will prevent that government from doing so — or using that data. Not for law enforcement purposes.
ProtonMail also uses a VPN service called ProtonVPN, noting that Swiss law prohibits state courts from forcing a VPN service to enter an IP address. In theory, if Youth for Climate used ProtonVPN to access ProtonMail, a Swiss court would not be able to force the service to reveal its "real" IP address. However, the company appears to be more inclined to recommend Tor for this specific purpose.
Only one email service can be encrypted
ProtonMail is also keen to point out, although the user's IP address and browser fingerprint are acting on them by the Swiss authorities acting on behalf of About Interpol. collected, but the company's guarantees regarding the privacy of email content were not breached.
This service uses public encryption and does not do so on purpose, it contains the key needed to decrypt the body of an email message or user attachments. Unlike the source IP address and browser fingerprint, this data cannot be collected simply by changing the configuration on the company's servers in accordance with a court order.
Although ProtonMail cannot access the body of an email message using the keys on the servers that process it, SMTP requires that the sender, recipient, and message table be within reach of the server. Accessing the service via Tor or a VPN may obscure your browser's IP address and fingerprint, but the service may still be legally required to provide any of these areas for Swiss law enforcement.
Additionally, email subject lines can also be encrypted without breaking the SMTP protocol - but in practice ProtonMail does not, which means that relevant courts may require the service to provide this data as well.
R. Miller / Flickr Image List
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