The popular encrypted email service provider ProtonMail has announced that it has launched a hidden service available on the TOR anonymous network.
ProtonMail Now Available on TOR
The ProtonMail email service provider has announced that the host will also launch a special hidden service that will be available on the TOR anonymous network. The new asset is added to to help fight censorship and surveillance mandated by governments worldwide.
According to the ProtonMail staff the use of the TOR network gives their customers several advantages – extra layers of encrypted communications, IP address protection and the possibility to bypass any censorship mechanisms that operate on the visible network. However this does not come without any disadvantages. Accessing the service will have a negative performance impact and it may not prove to be as reliable as the regular site.
The URL uses encrypted key hashes which makes it hard to distinguish. The email can only be accessed using the HTTPS secured protocol and works with a certificate issued by Digicert. The service has posted in-depth instructions on how to access the TOR hidden service. The owners of the service have posted the following on their blog about the new feature:
In the past two years, ProtonMail has grown enormously, especially after the recent US election, and today we are the world’s largest encrypted email service with over 2 million users. We have come a long way since our user community initially crowdfunded the project. ProtonMail today is much larger in scope than what was originally envisioned when our founding team met at CERN in 2013.
As ProtonMail has evolved, the world has also been changing around us. Civil liberties have been increasingly restricted in all corners of the globe. Even Western democracies such as the US have not been immune to this trend, which is most starkly illustrated by the forced enlistment of US tech companies into the US surveillance apparatus. In fact, we have reached the point where it simply not possible to run a privacy and security focused service in the US or in the UK.
At the same time, the stakes are also higher than ever before. As ProtonMail has grown, we have become increasingly aware of our role as a tool for freedom of speech, and in particular for investigative journalism. Last fall, we were invited to the 2nd Asian Investigative Journalism Conference and were able to get a firsthand look at the importance of tools like ProtonMail in the field.
Recently, more and more countries have begun to take active measures to surveil or restrict access to privacy services, cutting off access to these vital tools. We realize that censorship of ProtonMail in certain countries is not a matter of if, but a matter of when. That’s why we have created a Tor hidden service (also known as an onion site) for ProtonMail to provide an alternative access to ProtonMail that is more secure, private, and resistant to censorship.
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