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Safe And Anonymous E-Mail Services

We continue our series where we show you how to move anonymously through the Internet and that definitely includes a secure e-mail address. Below we present the best privacy-conscious e-mail providers and our user experience with them.

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1. Posteo.de
Privacy: The most secure e-mail provider in our opinion is the German company Posteo.de (the homepage has an English version too), which currently offers the best encryption and anonymity. For this Posteo uses different types of encryption, which engage at different points. The access to their servers is encrypted by using TLS connections and is secured at the same time with the technologies PFS (Perfect Forward Secrecy) and DANE/TLSA. The latter avoids that third parties attempt to decrypt the connection data of the user subsequently. In addition, the e-mail traffic on the transport and the hard disks of all Posteo servers are encrypted. All this is done automatically, the user can securely send e-mails just at the push of a button, without having to use a key.
User interface: Besides the encryption, Posteo was also the best in test, because the user interface is very well-arranged. Even users, who are not familiar with computers or the Internet can handle everything easily. For us it was new, that you can open a message and simultaneously access the other e-mails in the inbox. This saves the user a lot of back and forth. The encryptable calendar and address book are other nice options. The mailbox has a 2GB memory capacity and is expandable.

2. Private.ki
Privacy: Private.ki has been published so far only in the beta version, but the concept sounds promising: The platform promises a safe and easy e-mail encryption. An encryption software does not have to be installed, the key remains local to the user. Not even the provider can decipher the emails, so pressure by secret services would be useless. Only the recipient can read the e-mail. The encryption techniques include PGP and https/SSL.
User interface: Not yet tested. Interface only available in German.

3. Mailbox.org
Privacy: The company Mailbox.org from Berlin works by a similar principle as Private.ki. The Inbox with all e-mails can be encrypted with a PGP key, even if they were sent from the sender unencrypted. So if a hacker would crack the account or Mailbox.org would be forced by a court order to publish the data, the saved e-mails would be still unreadable. In addition the data is secured with SSL.
User interface: Not yet tested. A 2-50GB memory capacity is possible and for photos and documents there is a 100GB storage. The interface is also available in English.

4. Hushmail.com
Privacy: Hushmail.com is a popular place to go in the hacker scene, which is surprising, because the provider has to be treated with caution. In the terms and conditions it says that Hushmail saves the IP addresses of its users on each visit and also their activities, such as reading an e-mail, are being recorded. With a free account one must also at least log in every three weeks, so that the account will not be deleted. You can send e-mails encrypted and send a password to the recipient, that he has to enter in order to read the e-mail. If the recipient also uses Hushmail, the messages get automatically encrypted and decrypted. The company uses the standard algorithms of Open PGP standard and secures the e-mail traffic additional with https.
User Interface: The user interface of Hushmail is in English. It’s not the most beautiful interface of all the listed providers, but it serves its purpose and you can navigate easily. A free account gives the user a 25MB memory capacity.

5. Safe-mail.net
Privacy: Safe-mail.net uses the encryption PKI, through which the data of the user is protected every step of the e-mail sending. PKI is also being used by the US Army, Airforce and Navy. Whether this is advantageous remains questionable, because eventually this encryption could be decrypted by US intelligence.
User Interface: With a free account there is a 3MB memory capacity available, which is not much. The interface is displayed in English and looks a little bit like from the 90s. Nevertheless, one can easily find his way through the mailbox. But this service unfortunately has a lot of maintenance, that’s why it’s on the last place.

Conclusion: At all of these providers you don’t have to give any private information like your name or home address. That’s why they’re suitable for persons who consider privacy as an important issue. Most of these services also offer other nice options such as encrypted calenders or address books.
Posteo is our personal favorite, even if it is one of the few providers who offers no free account. But for true anonymity are 1 Euro (1,20 $/ 0,80 pound) per month a bargain. Those who decide nevertheless for a free e-mail service, may only get a lower encryption.

Addendum: We had the provider Secure-Mail.biz also in our list, but unfortunately the service withdraws from the e-mail business. We will miss you!

Die deutsche Version des Artikels findet ihr hier: German Version

This could also interest you:
VPN – How you can protect yourself from the surveillance of the NSA and Co.
Secure and anonymous Alternatives to Dropbox, Facebook, Google and Co.
Add-ons for more security and privacy in your browser

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