ProtonMail, which is termed as “the world’s largest secure email provider” and is widely used in the dark web, has recently updated their Transparency Report to include some of the latest requests for information from the law enforcement across the world. The company has also added a statement about complying with the court orders prior to officially receiving the said orders. This concerned some members of the many belonging to the privacy communities on Reddit.
The latest update to their Transparency Report has added an entry to their list of special or significant interactions with the law enforcement as well. ProtonMail only updates the Transparency Report when the company receives a request that highly requires a deviation from the SOP, requests challenged by ProtonMail, and the requests which are not the usual fraud, extortion, ransomware, and anonymous threats cases whatsoever. The August update has added a single request:
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As counter-response to the concerns that have been raised on the darknet forum Reddit by the genuinely concerned Redditors and/or the individuals who are expecting a scope to expose ProtonMail, the company has added another update on the 29th of August, 2019:
ProtonMail has complied with the requests prior to being formally served with the requests in very few instances, as stated by the Transparency Report. One of the examples included the Chloe Ayling case wherein her (then) suspected kidnapper had publicly released his ProtonMail email address and had associated it with the then suspected kidnapping. Herba–Ayling’s kidnapper had created a hidden service for the “Black Death Group,” a fictional human trafficking organization from Herba’s own imagination. The hidden service for the group had a picture of Ayling on the floor with her measurements, a price, and his email address. ProtonMail wrote the following about the Chloe Ayling case:
With proper and rigid security, ProtonMail users could theoretically access their accounts while under investigation and remain anonymous. Since ProtonMail literally cannot hand over all the contents of encrypted emails, the data they can hand over to law enforcement is pretty much limited. Note that email subjects are not encrypted, however. The Transparency Policy update did not make the service any less safe or much different than it was before the update. It changed nothing so far as we know. And even if it had changed something, ProtonMail is still anonymously accessible over their onion service under their Tor link protonirockerxow.onion.
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