As the population comes to terms with the new American President, a number of U.S. citizens are making preparations for Donald Trump’s administration. And in a case of tragic irony, some of these preparations are taking the form of email encryptions.
Since Trump’s election, encrypted email service ProtonMail, which claims to be “NSA-proof,” has seen a 100 percent increase in the number of signups. The Swiss company released a lengthy statement following the shocking victory, urging individuals to consider what a Trump presidency might mean for privacy.
While ProtonMail says that it “follows the Swiss policy of neutrality” and consequently, does “not take any position for or against Trump,” the company notes that “privacy is a universal value,” one that be threatened by a Trump administration. As ProtonMail points out, “Due to the way the U.S. government is structured, President Trump will have a large amount of control over the NSA.” Combined with the GOP’s control of Congress, the company adds, “There is no denying that President Trump would have broad powers to re-shape the U.S. surveillance apparatus to serve his agenda.”
ProtonMail, which uses client-side encryption to ensure that all data is encrypted before it arrives on its own servers, is one of the world’s largest end-to-end encrypted email providers. Currently, over 2 million individuals use its services, but this number may grow, particularly from U.S. patronage in the coming weeks, months, and years.
The Swiss firm is quick to point out the obvious, that concerns about privacy are not new. “All Trump does is put a new face on the existing privacy problem, so now it concerns a segment of the population that previously didn’t care as much,” the company stated. And although it has recently seen “an influx of liberal users,” ProtonMail says that its “users have always come from both the left and right side of the political spectrum.”
Ultimately, the company said, “privacy isn’t just a liberal or conservative issue, it is something that we all need to champion, regardless of our political leanings.” So here’s hoping that this is something we can all remember, no matter what the next four years bring.