Proton again provided user information to Police Authorities

Encrypted email service Proton Mail is in trouble again for something it's done before: Handing over user data to law enforcement.

Proton offers many services that it claims are safe. These include an end-to-end encrypted email product. Ostensibly designed for people who want to preserve their privacy, Proton claims that email and attachment content is unreadable, has no trackers and ads, and uses the “highest privacy standards”.proton mail

Be that as it may, it appears that there is still user information that Proton has access to and may be forced to reveal. In 2021, the Swiss-based company provided the Swiss police with the IP address and the details of a user's device that the police were trying to identify. That person – a French climate activist – was later arrested after Proton shared his data with the French police.

Shortly after this Proton removed the claim that it does not track users' IP addresses from its website. Proton has been accused in the past of offering authorities real-time user tracking.

So now Proton has reportedly handed over an account recovery email address information to Spanish police for a suspected Catalan separatist supporter. The Spanish police provided the recovery address to Apple, which was reportedly able to identify the person associated with an account.

Proton reported to the advocacy group Restore Privacy that she was well aware of the case, but her hands were tied under Swiss anti-terrorism laws.

"Proton has minimal user information, as evidenced by the fact that in this case data obtained from Apple was used to identify the terrorist suspect," a Proton spokesperson said.

"Proton provides privacy by default and not anonymity by default, because anonymity requires certain user actions to ensure proper OpSec, such as not adding your Apple account as an optional recovery method."

To paraphrase the company: Sure, your email is secure, but anything we know about you that isn't end-to-end encrypted we'll give to governments that ask for it.

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Written by giorgos

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