Free webmail with privacy

In the wake of 2013′s Summer of Surveillance, demand for privacy-respecting email services has skyrocketed. Email is a dinosaur technology though, designed long before the word privacy was part of the internet’s lexicon. Email as we know it today was never intended to obscure metadata or require end-to-end encryption. Message encryption was a rough afterthought and peer-to-peer connections aren't even possible with conventional email protocols.

Nevertheless, a handful of new services have given rise to what we could call Email 2.0. Or if you prefer, you could call it what email should have been 20 years ago. Open source PGP encryption and key management is being baked into conventional webmail, easily usable by the non-dedicated. Service providers are forcing browsers into HTTPS connections with forward secrecy and requiring encryption between other mail servers. IP addresses in mail headers are being left behind as well.

Today, reasonable privacy and security are possible with email and while easier than ever, we're pushing the limits of expansion. A new breed of services are blending email, instant messaging and social networks with decentralized protocols and default-on encryption so as to be usable by anyone.

These advancements are sitting out toward the horizon though; accessible for the dedicated, but still maturing. Adoption and community support will be the biggest hurdles faced by projects like Bitmessage, Pond and Tent, and personal platforms like Enigmabox. Of course there are more than just these.

In the meantime, here is a list of email providers whose free services are a practical starting point (and some more than others). There are reputable paid options as well, while anyone would welcome your donation. Regardless of your choice, know that no service or technology can address the root problem of mass surveillance. They are only forms of sidestepping it.

This page is basically a clone of "Free Webmail for Better Privacy" from the "The_Simple_Computer" (tSc) domain which seized to exist and prior to existence was not updated for several years. However, it was originally a good guide and we take it's core, focus only on "free" email services and pick the ones still in existence and recommendable.

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