This is a great writeup from Max Mortillaro about moving from Gmail to ProtonMail, an end-to-end encrypted email service. It’s an interesting evaluation of the service, but also of switching primary email addresses in 2017. At first, I thought that would be the least interesting part of the piece. As I thought more about it, this is really the whole point of the article.
The inertia to move email accounts is two fold. On the one hand, as a product, Gmail is pretty rock solid. It ties in well with Google services, and unless you really need access to the file structure of email, it should suit most users. The other issue is the social cost of switching, not only in terms of letting everyone know your new address, but to switch over various logins and account details across a range of services.
Still for Max, ProtonMail was worth the transition. The service doubles down on privacy. While Gmail is encrypted in transit, your actual email is constantly being scanned to serve ads to you throughout the interface. While you might trust Google now, it could change at any moment, and you essentially have no recourse to secure your data. ProtonMail is encrypted in transit and at rest, with support for public-key encryption. It’s not a perfect service, it can be clunky according to Max’s review, but overall the gain in privacy was worth it for him.
I don’t know if I’d try to make ProtonMail my new primary account. But Max certainly showed that it’s a viable, if initially cumbersome, alternative.
Max Mortillaro comments:
The more I’ve been working in IT, the more I’ve seen security disasters and the more I’ve been more self-conscious about privacy and security. One of the largest pieces of our digital presence are our e-mail addresses. I’ve wanted to secure my e-mails and my privacy for a long time but the hassle