ProtonMail was founded in 2014 to build a better internet where privacy is the default, and to protect activists, journalists, and ordinary people from online surveillance. We are activists ourselves, and over the years we have supported movements around the world from Hong Kong to Belarus to Myanmar, both with our products and through direct advocacy. In the last three years, we’ve donated $500,000 to groups like EDRi, NOYB and the International Federation of Journalist’s Safety Fund in their fight for the right to free expression.
Proton operates from Switzerland, a country we have intentionally chosen due to its strong privacy laws and a sound legal framework that protects against enforcement from countries with human rights issues or questionable justice systems. Like many of you, we have been outraged at how governments are targeting citizens, and we will continue to fight for better privacy laws and against abusive persecutions. In 2020 alone, we fought 750 attempts by governments around the world to obtain user data. While Switzerland is far better than most other countries, no legal system is perfect, and there can be cases of injustice. As a law-abiding company, we’ll always have obligations to comply with legally binding orders from the Swiss government.
Our strong encryption technology is the best defense against government overreach, as your mailbox is protected with zero-access encryption. This means nobody can decrypt the messages in your mailbox. Messages exchanged between ProtonMail users are additionally protected with end-to-end encryption. As we don’t have access to these messages, they cannot be handed over to third parties. While ProtonMail provides strong privacy, if you are an activist that also needs anonymity, you have to use our Tor onion site or a VPN.