Protonmail is an email platform that many people use to maintain anonymity. It is not supposed to save anyone’s IP address, nor does it identify users by their first and last names, but exceptions can be given.
This is what has happened in France, where they asked protonmail to obtain the IP of a user of the platform. In that case, to comply with the law, Protonmail had to make an exception and track its user.
They comment on the case and TC, where they give all the details of what happened. Here I summarize the main points:
– Protonmail offers end-to-end encrypted communications, and it does not register IP addresses by default, but its users can obtain the IP address if required by law.
– A group that carried out and organized protests on real estate speculation was persecuted, occupying real estate illegally. They occupied several premises in the vicinity of Place Sainte-Marthe last year.
– Protonmail had to deliver the email address, the linked IP address, the device used, the number with which the device was identified.
– Protonmail CEO Andy Yen has already spoken out saying they must comply with Swiss law.
As soon as a crime is committed, privacy protections can be suspended and we are required by Swiss law to respond to requests from Swiss authorities.
– Protonmail did not immediately notify the user that the authorities had requested your data, in fact they can delay that notification if the law allows or orders it.
– ProtonMail received 13 requests from the Swiss authorities in 2017, and in 2020 the number was already 3,572, which makes it clear that there are many crimes that are being committed using this platform.
– It is possible that if the user had also used the VPN offered by Protonmail, the final IP would not have been possible to obtain due to the technical limits that a VPN offers.
What is clear is that it is difficult to hide a crime under a platform that offers anonymity. Laws are above privacy policies, and there is no platform, not even Protonmail, that can outwit them 100% on the Internet.