ProtonMail is an independent Email platform based in Switzerland designed with privacy and security as its key selling points. It can be confusing exactly how far that level of privacy and security go though. For example, some users may have the misconception that ProtonMail can’t be traced at all and provides absolute privacy.
As ProtonMail is based in Switzerland it is subject to Swiss laws that are well known to be very pro-privacy. ProtonMail cannot legally comply with a court order from a foreign government unless the Swiss government approves it. While this does happen occasionally, ProtonMail also pushes back on many cases that they object to. Details of the cases that they did and did not provide information for can be found in their transparency report.
ProtonMail doesn’t require any personal details to sign up, so your account is essentially anonymous. This anonymity only goes so far though, if you want true privacy you should practice proper OPSEC, or Operational Security. You should make sure that your email address doesn’t include any identifying information and that you don’t reuse the handle of another email address with ProtonMail as this could be used to link the two accounts.
Messages between ProtonMail accounts are encrypted from end to end and all emails are encrypted when stored on ProtonMail’s servers. This means that ProtonMail can’t access or analyse your emails at all, or hand over that data.
ProtonMail offers a hidden tor site, also known as an onion site, that can be accessed over the tor network for connection and IP address anonymity. You should be aware that a lot of governments actively try to track activity on the tor network, meaning it may in some cases draw more attention to you than just accessing the site normally.
What can be traced
As part of their service, ProtonMail does temporarily log some metadata such as IP addresses. This could potentially be used to identify you, or at least where you live.
Subject lines of emails, as well as the recipient and sender addresses, are not encrypted during transmission. This is because no email standard, even the PGP encryption standard supports encrypting this data. Thus, if you include sensitive or identifying information in the subject line, this could be visible to third parties. Any email you send to third parties is tied to your account and can be traced back to it as your sender address will always be visible.
The content of emails sent to third party email platforms will be visible to those third parties, unless you use the encryption feature. This could allow the third party to perform analysis of the content of the email.
Overall, ProtonMail offers more security and privacy than most email providers, as much as is technically possible, without limiting compatibility. Due to the nature of email, the emails you send can be traced back to your account. Due to how web systems work, ProtonMail would be able to monitor the IP address from which you access its service. This could potentially be used as part of a process to identify you, but due to strict Swiss privacy laws, the bar of entry for this to happen is high.
If you’re interested in a security and privacy focussed email provider, you can’t really go wrong with ProtonMail. If you’re really worried about having your actions traced, however, you should probably either avoid digital systems entirely, or try to resolve the issues with the people trying to trace you.
Ann Oyed says
Someone stole my user name set up a proton account and tried to hack my bank! But they were stupid because we did get an IP address from the money they tried to live in an account that had a block on it! Nothing was to be moved in and out of it! All my accounts are set to that unless I call the officer at the bank or go by! The beauty of banking at a small small bank!!
One for all the people fussing about naked pics to the husband, and harassing people…keep an eye on the husband because I’e had proton mail for the far side of forever and never gotten that type of junk. Have email with Microsoft for 6 days and spam is full of it. If people are harassing you, BLOCK THEM. REPORT them as Spam, send them to the trash folder or ignore them. If you them, report them to the police. Then, you should think about your choice of acquaintances. It’s not proton mail’s job to play email bodyguard just because you’re bent out of shape over rude people. And if I want privacy to send email to my family, I should have the choice for that. That’s what protons provides. If you don’t like privacy, associate with I’ll mannered folks, or get your feelings hurt over spammy messages, outlook should work well for you. By all means go there, but know there is nowhere to complain there.
I certainly don’t endorse what Bruxy has done. He’s caused so much pain and devastation to TMH and the Christian community as a whole due to his past actions. That said, is he guilty of sexual abuse? Did he prey on a parishioner at TMG as widely reported? Absolutely and categorically not.
Pastor (yes; you read that right) Rebecca Thomson pursued Bruxy and he obliged; it’s that simple. Bec is hiding behind “Hagar” and as a result of her anonymity she’s able – and is! – claiming all sorts of untruths about the issue surrounding her affair with Bruxy. It lasted for a few years, was consensual and that’s the raw truth. There’s no big story here; no mystery to look into. It was an affair between two consenting adults… between two spiritual leaders, unfortunately.
Even as recent as 2017, Becca Thomson was endorsing Bruxy. Why she came out recently – after so many years – to claim “sexual abuse” is the only mystery here. Many of us are left scratching our heads, knowing who both she and Bruxy are. If you know Becca, you know who the initiator was here.
Regarding the other two women who came forward; the allegations are in fact true “but” nothing physical took place with either women. Inappropriateness? Yes 100%. Anything physical? Absolutely not. Lastly, regarding the allegation of sexual misconduct/abuse towards a minor; the overseers made this claim without providing any actual evidence; this is one issue I can’t speak to as I have no knowledge of whether it’s accurate or not. In this specific instance, I can only offer my opinion based on knowing Bruxy. There’s no way he would ever harm a child. Then again, plenty of people present this way and we later learn they did harm children. However, no evidence has been given and the police haven’t charged him for this. In fact, there’s only one charge and it relates to Pastor Rebecca Thomson and he’s not been convicted … and nor do I believe he will be as this is a clear case of an affair.
TMH overseers have no problem accusing Bruxy but they seemingly have an issue providing ANY evidence to their claims at all. If/when Bruxy’s charges are either dropped or he goes to court and is found not guilty (“if”), my hope is that the overseers will resign and never take any position of leadership again. Accusing a man of sexual abuse and then later accusing him of sexual abuse/sexual misconduct against a minor without providing evidence is irresponsible. They should stop playing detective and let the police handle everything and when all is said and done… THEN make a statement based on whether he’s CONVICTED of a crime.
If he’s convicted, I’m all for making such a conviction known and warning others. If he’s guilty… he’s guilty. But that’s the thing; he’s INNOCENT until “proven” guilty in a COURT OF LAW”… not on a stage at a church by a board who’s transparency record is nil. Telling me that an “outside investigator substantiated the claims” means zilch. I want evidence of wrongdoing; actual, tangible evidence. Not merely claims. Short of that, I don’t care how passionate you are about what you believe did or did not happen; I’m not swallowing the Kool-Aid. If you’re not willing to provide tangible evidence to your claims… DON’T MAKE THESE CLAIMS.
“But … but … we’re keeping the evidence on the down-low to protect the victim(s)”. Fine; then don’t make the allegations against the “alleged” offender as he’s not been convicted of any crime.. ever. Just keep your mouths shut and let due process take place. In your so-called desire to “protect” the victim(s) you’ve destroyed a man who may not be guilty of ANY of your allegations.
I know some will disagree but just imagine if a leadership board accused YOU of being a child predator and sexual abuser without your day in court. Just imagine the damage that would come from such accusations. Imagine that you then went to court and were found not guilty based on all the facts presented. Oh well; YT videos and news articles have been circulating about how you’re a predator. Have fun living the rest of your life.
Proton mail is just a platform for people to hide behind to attempt to terrorise others. It is nothing more than a tool for cyber criminals and bullies. Proton will terminate accounts for this,but they simply change the user ID and keep going. Unfortunately Proton should be forced to collect more information for account users.
Meh. Send a link via Protonmail (or any other email service) from Grabify. As soon as somebody clicks the link; you own them.
Protonmail can’t stop that.
sr chari says
i need sender ip address its possible to get
Shane Langston says
How do I trace the identify or location of the sender of a ProtonMail email? Is it possible?
Can a email we send through Proton be traced back to us? We will never send illegal messages but we don’t want the recipients to chase us down.
So we can just get harassed and have no way of fighting back??
And. we care….why?
terri phillips says
I am very interested in Proton Mail. I would like to send mail annomisly from my Android phone and it not show thats where it came from. If I am reading this correctly this will work?
I bought a VPN with Proton mail and I was hoping for privacy and safety from spyware and other cyber attacks. I have been attacked in the past and now a proper social engineering squad threatens me. They literally sabotage my personal access to Facebook even.
Christine the police won’t be able to do anything. People who use proton don’t want to be traced and it’s impossible if they use tor.
I’ve had someone send a nude picture to my husband, trying to entice him. How do I deal with this. It was sent to his work mail and he was reprimanded for porn.
Someone with “firstname.lastname@example.org” is threatening and stalking my kids. I am reporting to police