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ProtonMail and U.S. Investigation of Threats Against Dr. Fauci


V.T. Eric Layton
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V.T. Eric Layton

Someone posted this on Diaspora:

 

https://steigerlegal.ch/2021/08/02/protonmail-daten-usa/

 

You'll need to use DeepL Translator or Google Translater if you don't happen to speak German.

 

What it basically says is that ProtonMail turned over information on a user in regards to a request by the U.S. which is investigating threats made to Dr. Fauci using a ProtonMail account.

 

The truth to the matter is that this behavior is not legal in most countries. What the article doesn't say is that ProtonMail has NEVER guaranteed the privacy of users who have have violated the laws of Switzerland. No one is reading their TOS, Privacy Policy, or Law Enforcement documents, evidently. A bit from the last of these:

 

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ProtonMail collects user information in accordance with our Terms and Conditions, Privacy Policy and any applicable separate agreement such as a GDPR Data Processing Agreement or a HIPAA Business Associate Agreement. E-mails are stored on ProtonMail servers in encrypted format. They are also transmitted in encrypted format between our servers and user devices. E-mails between ProtonMail users are also transmitted with end-to-end encryption. Because data is encrypted at all steps, Proton Technologies AG cannot decrypt user messages.

 

If there is some truth to this article that some user information was given to the U.S. by ProtonMail, it could only have been minimal account information, if that. They cannot decrypt users' emails, as stated above.

 

I could not find any other corroborating news stories of any kind to back up this article, so I'm calling mierda de toro on this.

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V.T. Eric Layton
11 minutes ago, securitybreach said:

Well you would should never send confidential information over webmail unless it is encrypted.

 

Especially when those communications are criminal in nature/intent. :)

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We had a lot of spammers register at Debian Forums using Proton Mail accounts. I looked at more secure options than Gmail some time ago and remember wiping Proton off the list for several reasons IIRC. This article comes as no surprise.

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V.T. Eric Layton

Umm... I think you totally missed my point, Roger. I was debunking that article. It's basically FUDD. The fact of the matter is that if you break the law and use ProtonMail in criminal acts, it's well within the provider's rights to release that information to any legally authorized entity who requests it, in my opinion. Security and privacy are not intended by providers as a means to avoid the laws. No providers of Internet, phone, or email services are going to take that responsibility, and I don't blame them.

 

ProtonMail is HIGHLY secure and private. If a person prefers to not have the mail read by Yahoo or data-scraped by Gmail, then ProtonMail is the way to go. If a person is looking to commit crime (spam, scams, death threats, organizing revolution, etc.) against individuals or government entities, then they shouldn't be so stupid to think that any  legitimate provider of services is going aid and abet them in their ventures.

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What part is FUD? The article says Proton handed over information as is covered by Swiss law. It doesn't say what that info was, whether just identity or IP address of accused, or content of emails.

Quote

For security authorities in Switzerland, ProtonMail is a godsend, because many users wrongly believe that their data is actually protected by the “strict Swiss data protection laws” with ProtonMail . They do not know that the applicable data protection act (DSG) in Switzerland does not guarantee effective data protection and that criminal proceedings and surveillance measures are not covered by the DSG at all (Art. 2 Para. 2 lit. c DSG) .

And one of the comments:

Quote

The USA does not allow encryption systems that cannot be decrypted or for which they do not have a master key unless a country successfully opposes this. Switzerland as the country that has been giving the CIA Carte Blanche since the 50 'years is guaranteed not to be, but no one else will be there either ...

I wondered if that was true considering that case where Apple refused to decrypt some accused criminal's phone, but that was ultimately worked around IIRC.

Anyway, if some idiot is threatening to kill Dr. Fauci, I have no sympathy.

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V.T. Eric Layton

As I said above:

 

16 hours ago, V.T. Eric Layton said:

I could not find any other corroborating news stories of any kind to back up this article, so I'm calling mierda de toro on this.

 

Oh, and ProtonMail has very limited information on users; IP addy, username, etc. That would be about it, unless they were paying customers. They cannot decrypt emails no matter who asks. Their system is such that encryption is done so that only the sender/receiver can decrypt; according to ProtonMail's documentation, anyway.

 

I believe the article is baloney because I could not find any other mention of this anywhere via Search. I would think this story would be zooming around the world by now along with ProtonMail's official responses to this.

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V.T. Eric Layton
6 hours ago, sunrat said:

Anyway, if some idiot is threatening to kill Dr. Fauci, I have no sympathy.

 

I missed this the first time I read your reply. I think it would be best to not discuss it further.

 

___

 

EDIT: HAHAHA! I actually think I was misunderstanding Roger's plain English statement above. It could be seen as a bit ambiguous, I guess... I do think I misinterpreted, though. My first reaction was the Roger was saying he had no sympathy for Dr. Fauci being threatened. After coming back a few moments ago and re-reading his statement, I believe I should apologize to Roger because I think he meant that he had no sympathy for "the idiot"; and with that, I'd have to agree. Sorry, Rog. :)

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10 hours ago, V.T. Eric Layton said:

I do think I misinterpreted, though.

 

Wot sunrat said, "Don't worry Eric, English is hard. You'll get the hang of it one day! " 🤣

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V.T. Eric Layton
14 hours ago, sunrat said:

Don't worry Eric, English is hard. You'll get the hang of it one day!

 

Not sure if I'll manage that in one lifetime, but I'll keep at it. ;)

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16 hours ago, V.T. Eric Layton said:

 

Not sure if I'll manage that in one lifetime, but I'll keep at it. ;)

 

You will mate. Learning the Queens English in less than a lifetime is doable for a foreigner . However the intricacies of Yorkshire speak are way beyond the capabilities for almost everyone. 😁

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2 hours ago, abarbarian said:

 

You will mate. Learning the Queens English in less than a lifetime is doable for a foreigner . However the intricacies of Yorkshire speak are way beyond the capabilities for almost everyone. 😁

 

Not only Yorkshire. I just watched the excellent series "Time" (with Sean Bean - recommended!) which I think is set in Liverpool. Several times I had to rewind a little and turn the subtitles on to understand what they were saying!

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V.T. Eric Layton

I watch a lot of British programming (on American PBS stations). If I haven't watched any in some time, I have to get used to the accents again to understand what they're saying. It comes back pretty quickly, though.

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My mother was a rabid East Enders fan (shown on PBS here). Unfortunately, as she got older and more deaf it was harder and harder for her to understand through the accents and idioms. I, too, usually watch PBS with captioning turned on. 

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21 hours ago, sunrat said:

which I think is set in Liverpool. Several times I had to rewind a little and turn the subtitles on to understand what they were saying!

 

I need subtitles to understand the Scousers too. 😂

 

You might enjoy this.

 

😎

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15 hours ago, ebrke said:

I, too, usually watch PBS with captioning turned on. 

 

Wow I find that quite odd. I wonder if Boris and Joe need an interpreter when they talk. 😎

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securitybreach

Not as bad the Gypsy Pikey speaking in the movie Snatch. Warning, some curse words but not exactly easy to understand. The last part was obviously added as a joke but yeah, crazy dialect.

 

 

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You might not believe it but people really do speak like the pikey's and Scousers over here 😎 An then there are the cockney's and the geordies and brummies and so on. It is a wonder that we manage to communicate over here at all 😂

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Hello,

 

Unsure of what information was collected or how, but there might be some additional metadata that could be gathered via the http connection itself, or from scripts that run in a browser when looking at webmail—a technology usually pioneered by advertising firms.

 

Regards,

 

Aryeh Goretsky

 

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securitybreach

And since humans are the weakest link in security, he could of clicked a link a link in an email or similar. This goes back to my original point, if it is sensitive, why would you send it unencrypted? Especially considering Proton offers client side encryption.

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