Emails and privacy?

On week 6, Pinelopi will be giving us a lecture on privacy and surveillance that’s why the source I’ve chosen might be useful for those who’ll have a presentation on that topic or for those who’d like to know more about online privacy and emails in particular.

In “Think your email’s private?” by Andy Yen, the speech is clear that’s why there should be no difficulty with comprehension. He explains how to encrypt emails which might sound like a very complicated process, especially if you are not a computer nerd (I’m not trying to offend any computer nerds out there, I respect you guys) but he manages to make it sound simple and easy to understand by comparing our privacy with a lock and access to our privacy as a key which makes sense, doesn’t it? Later he describes how he and 2 other scientists created a platform called “ProtonMail” which allows its users to send emails privately without anybody collecting data. Although it might seem unrealistic but it works and there’re plenty of users who donate money in order to keep that service going without ads popping out from nowhere.

At the end, Yen claims that it’s possible to make our lives online private and the website he created is the proof of that because people start to value their privacy more than before. Therefore if money needs donating in order to run ad-free websites then people will be ready to do that. But is that really so? I’d rather let Facebook know I love llamas then pay to a website in order to send emails to my friends. Please share your opinions!

1) This is the lecture + you can find his reading list if you’d like to see it:

https://www.ted.com/talks/andy_yen_think_your_email_s_private_think_again#t-708395

2) Here’s the website Andy Yen and his co-workers created to send private emails, take a look if you’re interested (you can sign up if you’re tired of Google spying on you):

https://protonmail.com

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3 Comments

  1. Personally, i feel that it is not possible to make our personal lives private online. We are just far too much tracked and our online lives grow daily. Our searches, our tweets, our FB comments are all tracked and stored. Somewhere. Yen may have created a website to prove so. But have you ever looked at it in a way that challenges his claim. That actually we are not at all private. But all our privacy is stored in his hands….

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  2. I don’t have a definite opinion on privacy, especially when it comes to emails. I don’t use email as a personal platform, i use it to communicate with the university and to track my orders on Amazon or Just-Eat. So it doesn’t really bother me if it is not 100% private.
    Also, when it comes to surveillance, since I am not doing anything wrong or illegal I am not that affected by the fact that I am being ”watched”.
    On the other side, this might sound paranoiac, but the fact that the government can do whatever they please with my personal information scares me. Maybe i’ve seen too many movies where people are framed.
    In regards to Andy Yen’s idea, I agree with you that paying money to send emails is not an option. I also agree with the3nglishblog that maybe our information is still not private but Yen has access to it.

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    • That’s an interesting point about Yen having access to the emails. Maybe I didn’t pay attention to this but I don’t remember if he mentioned anything about it. He might have said that nobody has access to people’s information that’s why they’re ready to pay for their privacy but if they’ve been lied to and their emails are tracked then isn’t it illegal? Wow, thanks for pointing that out, I think I’ll dig a bit deeper.

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