ProtonMail, a provider which aims to make encrypting emails simple for everyone, said that it has seen a spike in users since the US elections which saw Donald Trump become President-elect. The increase in users has been put down to Trump’s rhetoric during the campaign against various groups of people in the US, who are worried about what his leadership could mean for them.
Of course, being President, Donald Trump would also inherit one of the largest spying machines ever, the NSA. Understandably, more people are now seeking out privacy-enhancing technology, such as ProtonMail.
In a blog post, Dr Andy Yen, CEO of ProtonMail, wrote:
“It is tempting to blame all this on Trump and his supporters, but that is taking the easy way out. All Trump does is put a new face on the existing privacy problem, so now it concerns a segment of the population that previously didn’t care as much. ProtonMail users have always come from both the left and right side of the political spectrum. Today, we are seeing an influx of liberal users, but ProtonMail has also long been popular with the political right, who were truly worried about big government spying, and the Obama administration having access to their communications. Now the tables have turned.”
ProtonMail is based in Switzerland, and like its government, has a policy of neutrality, not taking any position for or against Trump. With the emails being end-to-end encrypted, the only way that the NSA could get access to the emails of ProtonMail users is by gaining access to the servers (which are in Switzerland) and download the encrypted emails and then try to crack the encryption.