Most people utilize Gmail for their email service. It’s easy to see why considering how many other Google services are tied into having a Gmail account. If you’re not using Gmail, you undoubtedly have a Yahoo, Hotmail (or Outlook), iCloud email account, or something similar. A few of you may even utilize an email address provided by your Internet Service Provider, or ISP, which in my opinion isn’t the greatest option considering what happens if you choose another ISP down the road.
That all being said, I believe now is the time for you to strongly consider a different email provider, Tutanota (derived from Latin and contains the words “tuta” and “nota” which means “secure message.”)
There are several reasons for this, namely privacy.
Email providers like Google, Microsoft, and even a privacy advocate like Apple, have the ability and often do scan your emails for a variety of reasons. At one point, they even allowed 3rd party companies to scan specific content in your email so they can better “serve you” with targeted advertising. Allegedly, most of this stopped around 2017, but the fact that this even happened in the first place should cause you to pause. In Apple’s case, news came out today that they have been quietly scanning iCloud email accounts for CSAM since around 2019. And although we can all agree that the safety of children should be a priority for everyone, especially by technology companies, the fact is a provider that has the ability to scan your email account for anything without your direct consent is troubling.
In recent months, we’ve all seen the big tech companies censoring alt voices on their platforms. If you’re a white heterosexual Christian conservative male that doesn’t want to mask up or take a mandated vaccine, you better think twice about offering any opinion on the matter publicly on any social platform, or take the risk of being censored, temporarily banned, or worse. If Google already possesses the technology to use AI to scan video content on YouTube and can tell whether or not you mention anything related to COVID or vaccinations so they can slap a warning label on your content or temporarily ban your channel, imagine that same technology being used against you in the emails you’ve sent or received on Gmail. That’s a huge “no thanks.”
While sending or receiving email, it’s typically happening over an SSL/TLS connection. This is just a fancy way of saying the communication channel between two computers, in this case, you as the email sender and your recipient, is encrypted. This security protocol is common practice with any major email provider, that is the connection itself for sending/receiving is a secure connection. Tutanota uses TLS encryption because it’s newer technology and offers more robust security features than SSL.
Taking it a step further, Tutanota encrypts the actual email message itself along with your contacts, calendar, and entire mailbox. This does not happen with the providers mentioned above. If you want to continue using Gmail, Outlook, or Yahoo and encrypt the actual email message, you would have to install 3rd party software like OpenPGP. Tutanota makes it simple it does this for you automatically. Any message sent to another Tutatnota user is automatically encrypted, whereas non-Tutatnota users have the option to be sent unencrypted emails, or encrypted emails. If a non-Tutanota user receives an encrypted email, they receive a link where they have to go and enter a pre-known password to decrypt the message.
There are other things to consider when it comes to security and how Tutatnota approaches its email service that can be found here. Bottom line, if you want private and secure email, choose Tutanota. If you don’t, well, keep using what you’ve been using.
What About ProtonMail?
ProtonMail is another excellent choice for private and secure email. It was hard for me to decide between the two companies because they both offer similar services. After reading this article, I was able to make my decision, primarily based on price. Both offer free options, although, at the time of this article, Tutanota offers twice the amount of disk space for their free version. Also note, if you want to use your own domain for your email address, or if you already have a business email account, email services with Tutanota are a cheaper option than with ProtonMail, and incredibly more affordable than GSuite or Office365.
On a side note, if you’re the one in charge of your business or organization I can’t imagine many things more important than private, secure communication between your co-workers, employees, or even 3rd party vendors. If you’re able to automatically encrypt any and all communication within your @domain.com email account, choosing a service like Tutanota or Protonmail is a no-brainer.
Moving Forward with Tutanota
There are few things you need to realize and do in order to get started with Tutanota (or ProtonMail). First, in order to ensure end-to-end encryption, Tutanota offers its own app on both the Google Play Store and Apple Store for mobile devices and tablets. You can also download the PC/Mac/Linux application as well and can be found here. If you use Tutanota you will need to either access your email via a web browser, or you will need to download their app on your computer or device and use it that way. They do not support IMAP/SMTP with programs like Microsoft Outlook, Apple Mail, or Mozilla Thunderbird.
ProtonMail, however, does have a piece of software called ProtonMail Bridge that allows you to use your @protonmail.com address on your email programs like Outlook or Apple Mail, but it’s not available to free accounts. You will need to have a paid account in order to use this feature. Like Tutanota, ProtonMail does have its very own app you can download for your computers or devices. Both ProtonMail and Tutanota’s apps are free to use and do not require a paid account.
Another thing to realize with Tutanota is at the moment, they do not offer a service that will help you import your old emails into your new Tutanota mailbox. You can, however import your contacts. They are working on adding this feature of email import in the near future. Protonmail does already have this feature of importing your email in place.
Once you sign up for your Tutanota email account, here are a few things you will need to do if you want to completely move away from Gmail, Outlook, Yahoo, and the like.
- Create your free (or upgrade to a paid version) Tutanota email account. You can do so if you haven’t already, here.
- Download the apps on your mobile device, tablets, computers, and laptops.
- In your old email account, you will want to add a vacation response that automatically sends a message to anyone in your address book who sends you an email notifying them of your new email address. Quick tips for Gmail | Outlook | Yahoo
- If your email provider allows, set up an email forward so that all incoming messages forward to your new @tutanota.com email address. This will allow you to slowly but surely update your email address with any mailing lists you may be on. Quick tips for Gmail | Outlook | Yahoo
- Notify your contacts of your new email address. You can do this inside of Tutanota’s app or web version by looking for the share icon (three dots connected with lines) on the lower-left side of the screen.
- If you delete your old email account, make sure to download all of your messages from each mailbox from the server using Microsoft Outlook, Apple Mail, or Mozilla Thunderbird prior to your account deletion. This will ensure your ability to search your mailbox for any important messages or attachments after you delete your old account. Account deletion isn’t necessarily something many people will need to do, however. This primarily applies to those business accounts using the same @domain.com email address moving forward; as they’re just moving from one email provider over to Tutanota.
- Enjoy using your new, private, secure, encrypted email account, and never worry about being censored by something you send or receive to/from another user, or your mailbox being scanned by anyone other than yourself when doing a search.
- Spread the word!