Normal Topic Posteo: A More Private Alternative to Gmail, Yahoo, etc. (Read 3211 times)
Paste Member Name in Quick Reply Box George W. Maschke
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Posteo: A More Private Alternative to Gmail, Yahoo, etc.
May 30th, 2015 at 1:48pm
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As regular readers of will know, I care very deeply about electronic privacy. For years, I had used free e-mail services that supported encrypted connections, including AIM and Gmail, for my personal correspondence. I was very upset to learn in June 2013 that these services had all violated their users' trust by secretly providing user's data to the U.S. Government without any warrant or individualized suspicion under the ongoing PRISM program.

At the time, I switched to the e-mail provider that Edward Snowden trusted: Lavabit. This was a small company based in Texas that enabled users to keep their messages on the server encrypted, so that even if the server were physically seized, the data on it would be unreadable. Then, in August 2013, Lavabit suddenly and without explanation shut down. It was later revealed that Lavabit's owner, Ladar Levison, had received a secret government order demanding that he turn over the secret key used by his server to encrypt communications. This would have allowed the government to intercept all messages sent to and from Lavabit. Levison fought the order in court, lost, and provided the key to the FBI. At the same time, he shut down Lavabit so as not to violate his customers' trust. Although I was inconvenienced by this, I'm grateful to Ladar for his courageous action.

With Lavabit gone, I continued research into e-mail providers that respect their customers' privacy. The alternative I found is a small German company called Posteo. It's run by Patrik and Sabrina Löhr in Berlin, with servers in Frankfurt. Like Lavabit, Posteo allows you to keep your e-mail (as well as contacts and calendar) encrypted on the server, with a passphrase only you control. Posteo doesn't include your IP address in outgoing mail, and they don't log your IP address when you connect to their server. And Posteo is free of advertising.

Because Posteo is not under U.S. jurisdiction, it cannot be compelled to comply with National Security Letters, any secret U.S. government order such as that received by Ladar Levison. Nor can Posteo be compelled, like Google, Apple, Microsoft, Yahoo, Facebook, etc. have been, to provide the U.S. government backdoor access to users' data.

Posteo's Patrik Löhr has a good track record of resisting pressure for unlawful cooperation from his own government. In 2013, when German police attempted to coerce him into logging the IP addresses of Posteo's users, and to illegally provide them that data, he filed a criminal complaint against the police.

The cost of Posteo's service is nominal: one euro per month. After nearly two years with Posteo, I'm quite happy with their service and strongly recommend them:
« Last Edit: May 30th, 2015 at 2:13pm by George W. Maschke »  

George W. Maschke
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Posteo: A More Private Alternative to Gmail, Yahoo, etc.

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