Proton: finally a viable alternative to the Google environment?

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ProtonMail changes its name and sets itself the challenge of becoming a broad alternative to Google without taking advantage of your personal data. The CEO returns to the reasons for this choice. Newspaper

In an interview with Wired, Andy Yen discusses the change of name of his company from ProtonMail to Proton, but also his vision for the future of the company and indirectly of the Internet in general.

The interview is available directly on the Wired site, but we have selected for you the main lines that define what Proton will and will not be in the future.

ProtonMail

ProtonMail

ProtonMail is a secure messaging service that is free to register and apply.

  • Version :
    1.13.40
  • Downloads:
    436
  • Release date :
    05/25/2022
  • Author :
    Proton Technologies AG.
  • Licence :
    Free software
  • Categories:

    Internet – Security – Communication

  • Operating system :

    Android, Online service All Internet browsers, iOS iPhone / iPad

Privacy should not be a matter of point of view

During the interview, the question of privacy comes up regularly. But what is privacy on the internet? For Google, the answer is simple: no one can use your data except us. It is precisely this “apart from us” that the CEO of Proton wishes to eliminate by offering an alternative.

Competition is precisely the heart of the problem at Apple, which refuses alternative application stores on the pretext of not being able to control respect for the privacy of users. The problem is that today the company can also prevent the emergence of an alternative solution to the default applications.

Competition is necessary for privacy

According to Andy Yen, who mainly sites Google in the interview, users do not have enough alternatives to Google, which is taking advantage of Android’s dominance to push its solutions.

They are not ideal in terms of personal data protection, but the alternatives have so little visibility that they do not encourage users to change the default settings of their devices.

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This is why ProtonMail, known for its encrypted emails, becomes Proton and intends to offer, under a single account (with subscription), a consolidated environment including: an email client, a storage space, an encrypted calendar (essential according to the CEO , since it contains a lot of information about your activities) and a VPN.

“The best way to protect data is not to have it”

With over 400 employees and 70 million users, Proton works on a simple concept: not having access to user data is a good way to avoid exploiting it.

This is why the entire environment offered by Proton is based on end-to-end encryption and zero access. Once the solution has been implemented, the company does not have the means to exploit your data since it does not have access to it.

Realistic, Andrew Yen is well aware of not being able to offer a solution capable of fully competing with the Google universe, but aspires to a “reasonably competitive” alternative in order to offer a real choice to people.

A delicate balance

Another key point was also raised in the interview, that of access to data for law enforcement. Indeed, the latter take a dim view of the provision of tools allowing users to hide data from their view.

Using the theme of terrorism under the Bush administration and that of child pornography (an even more delicate subject) today, the authorities want to try to keep control over all the data circulating on the web.

If it is difficult to stand up against this kind of argument, it seems extremely delicate not to jeopardize the same systems that protect the sensitive data of companies, states, banks… Opening a breach in cryptography would also come back expose themselves to major cyberattacks.

In an effort to provide “security,” the United States spied on its fellow citizens, thus rolling back the concept of democracy. On the one hand, this kind of measures have made it possible to flush out criminals, but on the other hand, Internet users are constantly monitored, whatever they do (which no one would put up with elsewhere than in the digital world).

A country like North Korea practices this kind of total surveillance, but are people safer there? The balance between the security of personal data and that of individuals is therefore a delicate balance to be found in our modern democracies.

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