No more Gmail
After a long time It's time for me to get rid of Gmail and transition to a new, more secure e-mail provider.
I started using Gmail in 2004, the year of its release. Though it didn't become my primary e-mail application until two years later. You see, in those days, e-mail software was still the main way to process e-mail, and I used Microsoft Outlook and later Mozilla Thunderbird until late 2006. By that time Gmail had become a quite reasonable interface for e-mail communication, and, critically, it became possible to set another email-address as a default. This allowed me to ditch my local installation of E-mail software, and keep everything in the cloud.
Now after 17 years of using Gmail, it's time for something else. Here are some reasons
- Too much data being harvested and sold by Gmail, it is after all a data-driven advertising-company
- Not a commercial license, so Alphabet can do whatever it wants, like suddenly close it down
- All data is hosted in the US, which is a liability
- I like to support European initiatives
- I like encryption and advanced security measures.
After some research I decided to go for Proton mail. Proton was born in Switzerland in 2014 when a team of scientists who met at CERN (the European Organization for Nuclear Research) decided to build a better internet where privacy is the default.
Besides default encryption it comes with a boatload of security features to tinker with, including the possibility to PGP-encrypt e-mails as a default.
Migration was pretty easy, only setting up proton as a mail server on my hayobethlehem.nl domain was a bit tricky, mainly because it worked as a direct DNS setting as opposed to the weird redirects Google uses. I really liked how the setup wizard also informs you about and helps you setup any missing security headers.
In my opinion, the days of a free and happy internet are over. It's too easy for your data to be abused or subverted. Be very careful which services you use, and gravitate to only those that have a clear transparent business model, that respect your privacy and integrity. E-mail is still the most important communication medium online, so it's absolutely worth investing in a provider that minimises your attack surface, and promotes safe usage.