Clarification regarding ProtonMail, Belarus, and Ryanair flight 4978

Illstration using ProtonMail colors.

On May 26, 2021, an email sent to the Minsk airport was made public by investigative journalists working with The email in question was not leaked or obtained from ProtonMail.

As an encrypted email service, we do not have the ability to decrypt or read user messages. However, the message is readable on the receiving server in Belarus, and that was how a copy was obtained, as evidenced by the screenshots published by journalists. The only email sent to Belarus was published by to demonstrate that the “bomb threat” was sent after Ryanair flight 4978 was redirected. It was never published by Proton.

Due to the usage of ProtonMail by Belarusian citizens to protect their privacy, attempts have been made by the Lukashenko government to block access to ProtonMail since summer 2020. We condemn these actions and also the recent actions involving Ryanair flight 4978. We are supporting European authorities in their investigations, as we are legally obligated to do so on the basis of an official request from the Swiss government.


Feel free to share your feedback and questions with us via our official social media channels on Twitter and Reddit.

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Proton Team

Proton was founded by scientists who met at CERN and had the idea that an internet where privacy is the default is essential to preserving freedom. Our team of developers, engineers, and designers from all over the world is working to provide you with secure ways to be in control of your online data.

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12 comments on “Clarification regarding ProtonMail, Belarus, and Ryanair flight 4978

  • Can you also clarify something about this statement:

    It seems to imply that, if anybody anywhere should publish the content of an e-mail message I sent from my Protonmail account, you’ll be happy to confirm the message metadata and its authenticity.

    In your follow up message you say that only the Swiss authorities can make “further disclosures”. What would those be? My name and postal address? The full content of my inbox?

  • Due to your despicable failure to act impartially in this matter I have decided to terminate my association with your organization.

  • can you please confirm or deny that the bombthreat – mail was sent from your service to minsk – airport after the plane changed the route to minsk? thank you in advance!

  • When you say the only email “sent to” Belarus was the one sent after, does that mean Belarus was NOT CC:d on another earlier email?

  • This sure has made Protonmail NOTORIOUS! Never heard of it before! Now that I have, I sure won’t be using it for anything at all. I absolutely share all of MoA opinions about you and have a few very negative ones of my own. Inhumane. UGLY!

    I don’t have any evidence, from any source I trust, to be convinced the Belorussian authorities as bad as you!

    Hard to understand why you would condemn the perfectly legal actions of the Belorussian authorities regarding Ryanair flight 4978. There’s no evidence they even knew that the people they arrested were on the flight until it landed. I’m not saying they didn’t know, but there’s no evidence.

    People claim as evidence their quick action on the email insinuating, even, based on that, that it’s a hoax perpetrated by by the Belorussian authorities, but a competent air traffic security (or any other transportation security) organization would have filters to alarm based on such emails (as well as filters on all the social media). I’ve created such filters myself for quick action on emails important to me.

    You make my skin crawl almost as much as does the Democratic Party leadership om my own country with their lynch mob mentality. (BTW, I WAS a registered Democrat until very shortly after this last general election. Not any more!)

  • By saying it was “The only email sent to Belarus …” you are claiming to know, and commenting on, knowledge that the earlier email was not either carbon copied or in someway forwarded to Belarus.

    By your own admission you should not be making such statements regarding information on the earlier email that is not in the public domain.

    You ought to clarify that you actually don’t know if Belarus did or did not receive a warning via the earlier email, and that even if you did know you couldn’t possibly comment for legal reasons.

  • Can you confirm that there was not other emails sent to the address of the airport from your service and in that case, how can you make the confirmation?

  • Can you explain your claim that “The only email sent to Belarus was published by to demonstrate that the “bomb threat” was sent after Ryanair flight 4978 was redirected.” I mean, how can you confirm that only one email was sent? This claim raises serious doubts about your honesty, and may be an indirect confirmation that you are working with some intelligence services, making your clients believe that you are protecting their emails and at the same time having the ability to know who sent them, when and to whom and confirming this publicly.

  • Why you not publish my comment ?
    About US/EU government do exactly the same for try to catch Snowden ?
    So why Protonmail supporting EU&US who do exactly the same when it’s a problem for their own intereset ?

  • “The only email sent to Belarus was published by to demonstrate that the “bomb threat” was sent after Ryanair flight 4978 was redirected…..”

    The Belarus govt have released screenshots of an earlier 12.25 email they received from your server. This contradicts your statement “the only email sent to Belarus…”