ProtonMail Launches Free ProtonVPN to Fight Online Censorship

On the 20th of June 2017, the Swiss-based security company, Proton Technologies AG, released its final version of ProtonVPN, open for public use and free to access. Proton Technologies AG has also been the pioneer of developing an encrypted email service called Proton Mail.

The development

The development of the VPN service took around one year of hard work followed by four months of rigorous testing, as stated by Proton Technologies AG. Also, the service has been built by the very same individuals at CERN and MIT who were also responsible for creating ProtonMail.

In its address to the general public, the company wrote a letter to its community on its blog stating that the service is meant for everyone and by that they mean that the VPN is completely free.

It was stated that making it free was in line with the organization’s commitment to making the internet as a medium of social progress and advancement of mankind – the original vision which led researchers at CERN to create the World Wide Web. 

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In the official press release ProtonMail Co-Founder, Dr. Andy Yen said that

“The best way to ensure that encryption and privacy rights are not encroached upon is to get the tools into the hands of the public as soon as possible and widely distributing them. This is why, as with ProtonMail, we’re committed to making a free version of ProtonVPN available to the world.”

According to ProtonVPN’s privacy page, the company does not save user logs.

ProtonMail Launches Free ProtonVPN to Fight Online Censorship
Image credit: ProtonVPN

What is ProtonVPN?

Proton VPN is a Virtual Private Network that essentially encrypts and reroutes users’ data to the many servers located in Switzerland, Iceland, and Sweden. This implies that users will be able to protect their privacy as their original identity will be hidden.

Also, the developers state that the VPN is unlike any other as it offers a very high standard of privacy since the VPN comes with a secure core architecture which channels internet traffic through more than one encrypted tunnel.

This implies that it would be nearly impossible for potential attackers to intercept a user’s traffic. Moreover, the service allows users to add a further layer of anonymity since the VPN can be easily integrated with Tor.

It was stated on the company’s website that the VPN would further fuel the security of Proton Mail which is the first end-to-end encrypted email service. The developers believe that together, ProtonVPN and ProtonMail can provide a very high level of security to users.

The rollback of privacy protection laws and the need for protecting privacy

According to Proton Technologies, back in April this year, FCC’s 2016 Broadband Privacy Order, which was meant to prevent ISPs from selling private user information to third-parties, was rolled back.

The current Trump presidency repealed the law, leaving users vulnerable to agencies and third-parties to virtually intrude upon their privacy.

In such circumstances, the company states, it is ever more necessary to build tools that will allow users to take full advantage of the internet and not be restricted by severe censorship laws.

As such, the VPN comes at the right time to address the growing concerns around privacy and is the only way through which better security can be offered.

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Jahanzaib Hassan