Ever since Edward Snowden leaked information about the NSA’s data spying programs Prism and XKeyscorecard people have become more concerned about their privacy and the security of their data. We have sensed the same sentiment in our surroundings. So as a service to you we have done some research and are here presenting you with three of the top secure e-mail services out there:
- Kolab is a Swiss service that promises the following: “Your private data will not be crawled. It will not be used to create profiles of your personality for targeted advertisements. In short: Your personal information and communication will not be looked at.” We got wind of it through a Venture Beat article about famous legal blog Groklaw shutting down. The blog’s initiator Pamela Jones said she does not want to continue writing her blog under the current circumstances of surveillance. She also said that she will switch to Kolab for her e-mail correspondences because Swiss privacy laws are stricter and Kolab saves all their data on a server located in Switzerland. It costs 9.70 CHF a month, but if you are concerned about your privacy, you will have to invest some money in it.
- Neomailbox is another Swiss service relying on this country’s privacy laws. It is a little less expensive than Kolab, only $ 49,95 per year, but with only of up to 1GB of storage. Seeing that inboxes fill up quicker and quicker you might have to upgrade soon after signing up for this service. Also Neomailbox offers the deletion of the computer’s IP address in the header of an e-mail. This makes it more difficult for others to trace your computer. The downsides to Neomailbox, in comparison to Kolab, is that it does not look as user-friendly, that it does not have as many extra features and that it does not seem to be customized for mobile.
- Last but not least is Countermail. This is a Swedish service which offers end-to-end PGP encryption, which should make it more secure than the others, but only if the counterpart you are sending a mail is in possession of the key to decrypt it. Otherwise he/she will not be able to open it. If people want it even more secure, they can get a USB key. This allows only the holder of the USB key to access the e-mail account. Prices vary from $19.99 per quarter to $99 for a 24 month sign-up. The set up costs $10 as a one time fee. USB-keys are $15.
All things considered one has to take a close look at the services and then decide what fits best. Furthermore, according to ExtremeTech blogger Loel Hruska, on whom we relied for input for this post, if you want to communicate securely, e-mail might not be the right way to do it. So spies might have to rely on good old fashioned face to face meetings again in the future.
So check out these services and good luck out there!