It became known that the email service with an increased level of privacy ProtonMail disclosed to the Swiss authorities the IP addresses of some of its French users who are associated with the “green” movement Youth for Climate, which led to a series of arrests. Previously, the service has repeatedly stated that it does not collect user IP addresses and provides a high level of protection of personal data.
This is an incident that affects several members of the Youth for Climate organization from France who used ProtonMail in their activities. The organization itself, according to available data, was created to combat climate change. The members of the organization who attracted the attention of the authorities were supposed to organize “climate camps” in France in 2020 and 2021. What exactly interested law enforcement officers in their actions is currently unknown.
The source says ProtonMail had to disclose user data under pressure from Swiss authorities. However, this did not save the service from indignant users who are unhappy with this state of affairs. Many were surprised that the service collects IP addresses, as the company has repeatedly stated in the past that this data is not captured by default. Andy Yen, founder and CEO of ProtonMail, said the service began registering IP addresses of specific users at the request of the Swiss authorities.
Despite such explanations, users are likely to remain unhappy with the marketing of the service, which hides the legal intricacies of user data collection activities. Of course, Switzerland-based ProtonMail is not exempt from having to comply with local laws even if it promises users privacy. However, in such a situation, the service should explain to users the subtleties of work, especially for owners of paid accounts.