A Privacy and Freedom Conscious Email Service?

The time has come for me to sign up to a new and better email service provider. This time I want an email provider that is respecting my privacy, respecting freedom and is green in use. Is that even possible? Well, more or less. Read on to find out what I figured out.

Email

Image credit: Oxygen team. Source

I will start with a quote from the Free Software Foundation on why privacy is important these days: “We do know that specific companies providing webmail services were named as part of the PRISM NSA spying revelations: Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, Apple, and AOL.” Source. Of course, this is just one among many reasons to care about privacy, but this alone is for me enough for wanting to find a better email service. There are also other reasons for wanting a good email service, as you will see.

I think I have found my favorite. It uses green energy, it runs exclusively on free software, it’s located in Switzerland, and it’s not linked to any advertisement agencies or search engine providers. It costs money, but that helps fund the development of the service. Oh, the name of it? I will tell you later. First, let’s think about what we want in an email service, other than the basic stuff, like being reliable and having good uptime. I have listed 5 important matters below.

Privacy. The email service provider has to respect your privacy. That means not sending/selling any personal data that should belong to you, to third parties, like advertisement agencies and governments. Also the email service provider shouldn’t scan through your email messages to give you better search engine results or more accurate advertisements, in my opinion.

Free software. The source code has to be available and you have to be able to use the service without using non-free software. That could for example be non-free JavaScript code, or similar. Also, the license used by the service should be suitable for a free society, and to yourself.

Location of servers. I don’t want the data center of the email service provider to be located in the U.S. or other privacy hostile countries. Privacy hostile countries are countries that is okay with monitoring every citizens move on the Internet, and maybe even in general. It shouldn’t have intelligence/security agencies that can do almost whatever they feel like. Good/better countries for personal web services are (from what I have read) Switzerland and Iceland (please correct me if I’m wrong).

Terms of service. The terms of service should be reasonable and fair. It should respect your rights. You should feel that you are treated fair, and not being runned over and controlled by the company that you are a user/costumer at.

Green profile. To me, green (renewable) energy is important. In this case it means that the data centre(s) where the email service is located are not too hostile to the environment. The data centre should be well constructed considering the building itself, with its use of energy, the use of technology, and the use of software. Yes, software can also be a subject of being green or not. Is the software efficiently programmed? Is it getting the most out of any hardware?

Okay, enough general talk now. Let’s reveal my favorite email service provider after reading up on this topic. The service I found to be the best is called MyKolab.

MyKolab

MyKolab email

Image taken from https://mykolab.com/screenshots

MyKolab meets all the five “requirements” that was listed above. Like mentioned earlier, MyKolab runs on clean energy, consists exclusively of free software, is located in Switzerland (which have strong privacy laws), and is not connected to any advertisement agencies or search engine providers.

Their terms of service scored “Class A” at the independent website Terms of Service; Didn’t Read. An interesting point for many from this review is that MyKolab keeps only the minimum of logs and debugging information that is needed to improve their service and resolve issues that have occurred.

MyKolab respects your privacy, and as a bonus they offer more services than just plain email. They offer group collaboration features (yes, as the name of the company suggests), synchronization of data with mobile devices, meeting and appointment planning, calendars with different views, task management, file storage,  a customizable web client, native desktop clients for multiple platforms, and more. You are not forced to pay for all these services, as you can choose their lite option, which gives you email only, for a smaller price than the other options.

The “only email” option from MyKolab costs $5.15 per month. If you think that sounds like a lot, think about how much you are spending on other smaller things monthly in your life, like coffee, chocolate, etc, that sums up to just as much, or more. And by choosing MyKolab you are contributing to the development of free software and a privacy aware email service provider. Think of it as an investment in your privacy and as a revolt against surveillance and bad Internet services. For more information about their prices, check out this link.

… And another pro is that they accept bitcoins!

Conclusion

I’m not forcing you to choose MyKolab, but they are my favorite email service provider so far. It’s sometimes hard to tell whether the different email services are legit or not, or if they are handing data to governments, third parties, or are doing other cruel stuff. Do your own research, and you might be fine. If you are really skeptical about other people handling your personal data, you might want to set up your own email server. You can do that using free software, but you should have some knowledge about networks and servers.

If you want to read more about the topics I have been writing about, or if you want other options other than MyKolab, you can check out these links below:

Good luck finding a good email service provider! I hope this article was helpful.

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