In June of 2013, the Washington Post and The Guardian have revealed a US government mass Internet surveillance program code-named "PRISM". They report that the NSA and the FBI have been tapping directly into the servers of nine US service providers, including Facebook, Microsoft, Google, Apple, Yahoo, YouTube, AOL and Skype, and began this surveillance program at least seven years ago.
These revelations are shaking up an international debate.
StartMail has always been very outspoken when it comes to protecting people's Privacy and civil liberties. So it won't surprise you that we are a strong opponent of overreaching, unaccountable spy programs like PRISM. In the past, even government surveillance programs that began with good intentions have become tools for abuse, for example tracking civil rights and anti-war protesters.
Programs like PRISM undermine our Privacy, disrupt faith in governments, and are a danger to the free Internet.
StartMail has never provided a single byte of user data to the US government, or any other government or agency. Not under PRISM, nor under any other program in the US, nor under any program anywhere in the world.
Here's how we are different
- StartMail stores data as safe as possible. We make this perfectly clear to everyone, including any governmental agencies.
- All user data is stored in a user vault. When you're not logged in to your account, no one can access the contents of this vault. Because of this system, we don't have have to store your password, or a hashed version of it: so we don't. We even create an additional encryption key to protect emails that arrive while you're not logged in to your account.
- Deleted emails are deleted.
- We don't use tracking cookies.
- StartMail uses encryption (HTTPS) by default. Encryption prevents snooping. Your connection is encrypted, so others can't “tap” the Internet connection to snoop your emails.
- Our company is based in The Netherlands, Europe. US jurisdiction does not apply to us, at least not directly. Any request or demand from ANY government (including the US) to deliver user data, will be thoroughly checked by our lawyers, and we will not comply unless the law which actually applies to us would undeniably require it from us. We will never cooperate with voluntary spying programs like PRISM.
- StartMail cannot be forced to start spying. Given the strong protection of the Right to Privacy in Europe, European governments cannot just start forcing service providers like us to implement a blanket spying program on their users. And if that ever changed, we would fight this to the end.