Last week we asked you for suggestions about which organizations you think we should help with our Lifetime Auction and you responded with hundreds of worthy causes and institutes. All of your recommendations aligned with the Proton philosophy of creating a more secure and private Internet and defending human rights. However, as we went through the list and thought about where our contribution could have the most significant impact, three organizations stood out.
This year, we will auction off three ProtonMail Lifetime Accounts to support NetBlocks, 350.org, and the Web Foundation’s Women’s Rights Online project.
All three of these organizations work to expand Internet access and defend individuals’ digital rights. Last year’s charity auction raised over €45,000 for Charter’97, the largest independent Belarusian news outlet; WireGuard, a new open source VPN protocol; and the Berlin Scholarship Program run by Reporters Without Borders, which trains journalists working in combat zones and authoritarian countries on digital safety. The organizations we have selected this year also align with our goal of making the world a better place. The auctions begin today on eBay and will run until Dec. 29.
Proton will also make a matching contribution equal to what the community raises through the charity auction, up to a total of €30,000.
This year’s organizations
NetBlocks is an independent, non-partisan watchdog group that monitors the status of the Internet in countries all around the world and reports any shutdowns or blackouts. Their invaluable work calls attention to how often governments shut down the Internet to exert control. They have also produced reports and analyses that calculate the impact Internet shutdowns have on nations and society worldwide. Proton’s mission is to promote internet freedom globally, and the work done by NetBlocks has been instrumental in helping us see where we need to focus our efforts to expand the reach of free technologies like ProtonVPN.
The World Wide Web Foundation
The World Wide Web Foundation is an international non-profit organization that fights for a web that is safe, empowering, and for everyone. It was founded by Tim Berners-Lee, a fellow CERN alumnus, and the inventor of the world wide web. The Web Foundation does essential work across a number of projects that promote Internet access as a fundamental human right. Studies have shown that in the developing world, women are 50% less likely to access the Internet than men in the same community. That’s why we’ve chosen to support their Women’s Rights Online project, which aims to close the digital gender gap by improving and expanding Internet access for women in developing countries.
350.org is a US-based international nonprofit that uses people power to support renewable energy solutions and turn away from fossil fuels. They collaborate with environmental and local community groups around the world at a grassroots level. They work with and through these groups to mobilize volunteers and put pressure on governments and organizations to adopt renewable energy policies. The latest environmental science informs its strategy, and its name is taken from 350 parts per million — the upper limit of what is considered a safe concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. In our analysis of nonprofits, we found 350.org to be one of the most effective and ethical organizations addressing environmental responsibility.
What are Lifetime Accounts?
The Proton Lifetime Account is the most exclusive Proton account available. Only a small number of accounts exist, and the last and final time a significant quantity was made available was in 2016, when they were priced at €1337 and completely sold out. Since then, our annual charity auction is the only way to purchase a Lifetime Account from us.
The Lifetime Account gives its owner Visionary status forever (usually €288/year). The Lifetime Account has a few other perks as well:
- Automatic premium accounts for all existing and future Proton services, including ProtonCalendar and the upcoming ProtonDrive
- The ability to transfer Lifetime status to any other Proton account
- The option to resell the account
- Early access to new Proton products and services.
In last year’s auction, these Lifetime Accounts sold for more than €10,000.
In 2018, they were being exchanged for between $3,500-$5,000 on the secondary market. With additional Proton products being launched in the future, their value should only increase.
Help us make a better Internet for 2020
ProtonMail began in 2014 after a crowdfunding campaign helped us get enough funding to get started, so we are acutely aware of the difference our users’ donations can make. Because of our origins, we also believe in supporting other, like-minded organizations. Not only is it one way we can give back this holiday season, but these donations will also help further our shared mission. We feel that together with NetBlocks, the Web Foundation, and 350.org we can be more environmentally responsible and make an Internet that is open to everyone.
Thank you to all of our many users who have supported us over the years. We are looking forward to 2020; we feel it will be our biggest year yet.
Best Regards and Happy Holidays!
The ProtonMail Team
P.S. If your organization is part of the ProtonMail community and in need of support, please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org so we can keep you in mind in the future. And don’t forget, the auction ends Dec. 29!
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