On Nov. 19, we asked you which organizations our community should support with our 2020 Lifetime account auction and raffle. We received hundreds of excellent suggestions, and after carefully considering where our contribution would be most effective and thoroughly vetting the organizations, we are excited to announce the beneficiaries we have selected.
Given the challenges of 2020, our annual fundraiser takes on an even greater significance. These donations can significantly impact independent organizations’ sustainability and the scope of projects they can undertake, especially when the pandemic has disrupted so much public and private funding.
We believe strongly in giving back, so 100% of the funds raised will be donated. Proton will also make a matching donation equal to the amount raised, up to $100,000.
The Lifetime account auction begins today and will end on Dec. 27. Make sure you keep an eye on the eBay countdown!
New this year is the Lifetime account raffle, which will also end on Dec. 27. at 11.59 PM Zurich time. You can read more about the raffle below.
Lifetime accounts are a rare and special type of Proton account. You can find more information about Lifetime accounts at the end of this blog post.
You can bid on three Lifetime accounts this year on eBay. When the auction ends on December 27, the highest bidder on each auction will receive a Lifetime account. We will contact the winners via email once the auction is over. The auctions will support the following three organizations:
Technology has shifted how power is exercised in our society in profound ways. The Markup’s slogan aptly describes its mission: “Big Tech is Watching You. We’re Watching Big Tech.” This mission is more important today than ever before.
For journalism to effectively function as a check on the abuse of power, it must also evolve. This is the animating idea behind The Markup, a nonprofit newsroom focused on pursuing data-driven news stories. It also shares the datasets, code, and methodology behind their stories, allowing other journalists, policymakers, and academics to perform their own investigations.
The Markup also practices what it preaches. Unlike other news organizations that report on social media privacy scandals while relying on highly targeted and privacy-invading ads, The Markup collects as little user data as possible when you visit its site and does not show any ads. Instead, it is funded by donations, so it is not beholden to Big Tech companies.
Noyb, or None of Your Business, is a privacy enforcement non-governmental organization founded by legal privacy activist Max Schrems. Schrems has already fundamentally altered how the European Union treats data and privacy. In 2013, he sued several tech companies for privacy violations, and after two years of litigation, he won. The 2015 Court of Justice of the EU ruling ended the “Safe Harbor” data transfer agreement between the EU and the US, preventing EU data from being transferred to the US.
Noyb has assembled a team of legal experts focused on using Schrems’s blueprint of bringing strategic litigation against corporations to highlight privacy violations. Its lawsuits have been instrumental in protecting private citizens’ fundamental right to privacy.
The Thirst Project is a nonprofit organization that dedicates 100% of the donations it receives to drilling wells in remote communities in Eswatini, India, Uganda, El Salvador, and Kenya. Since 2008, Thirst Project has completed over 3,000 projects in 13 countries, supplying over 400,000 people with clean water. This is critical work as waterborne diseases, such as cholera, dysentery, and schistosomiasis, kill more children every year than malaria and AIDS combined.
The money raised in the Lifetime auction will go directly to funding wells in Eswatini.
The auctions will end on Dec. 27.
Introducing the Lifetime account raffle
In the past, we’ve received complaints that auctions are not the most democratic way to give out Lifetime accounts. Because Lifetime accounts are highly valued, they have sold for over $10,000 in previous years, putting them out of the reach of most users. This year, we’re addressing this by also holding a Lifetime account raffle.
Raffle tickets will be available for $10 each, and on Dec 29, we will pick three winners at random. It is possible to purchase more than one raffle ticket to have multiple entries in the raffle.
The Lifetime account raffle also begins today. You can buy tickets in the ProtonShop up until 11:59 PM Zurich time on Dec. 27. We will announce the raffle winners on Dec. 29.
We will donate 100% of raffle proceeds. This money will be allocated to the three organizations below in addition to the organizations listed above.
IFJ’s Safety Fund
Repressive regimes, militants, and cartels are increasingly targeting journalists with violence to prevent them from reporting the truth. The International Federation of Journalists’ Safety Fund is an emergency safety net, providing financial assistance to journalists who face violence, persecution, illness, or exile as a result of their work. It is the only financial aid fund set up for journalists by journalists, which means it is uniquely situated to address the difficulties reporters encounter in their quest to uncover the truth.
Tails is a portable operating system that expands the protection of the Tor network to your entire computer. You can download Tails onto a USB stick and then plug that USB into any computer and use it without leaving a trace, making Tails an essential anti-censorship and privacy tool for journalists and activists.
As an organization dedicated to protecting our users’ privacy, we applaud Tails’s approach to privacy and security. Like Proton, it believes privacy is a fundamental human right and provides free services for those most in need. It has also made its code open source, ensuring that any potential vulnerabilities are quickly discovered and resolved.
The European Digital Rights network comprises academics, advocates, researchers, and civil rights organizations that fight to protect all Europeans’ digital rights. They advocate for stronger privacy protections in legislation, challenge governments and corporations that abuse their power, and educate the public on their rights. EDRi members have taken Oracle and Salesforce to court for misusing millions of Europeans’ data, produced reports on how the unregulated use of new technology on Europe’s borders is exacerbating discrimination, and launched a movement against biometric mass surveillance.
What are the benefits of a Lifetime account?
Proton Lifetime accounts grant the owner the top tier paid plan for all Proton products for a one-time upfront payment. Currently, the top-tier paid plan is the Visionary plan (€288/year), which includes both ProtonMail and ProtonVPN.
Lifetime account holders also get the top-tier paid plan for all future Proton products, including Proton Calendar, Proton Drive, and all other products we introduce in the future. Lifetime users are also the first to get access to Proton services before they are released to the public.
Lifetime accounts are transferable and can be resold to other users. Because Lifetime accounts are so rare, Lifetime accounts have typically sold for over $10,000 in recent years.
Today, the only way to purchase a Lifetime account from Proton is through our year-end charity fundraiser.
Together, we can bring about change
Your donations create meaningful, lasting change. In 2019, our Lifetime account auction raised over $60,000 for NetBlocks, 350.org, and the Web Foundation’s Women’s Rights Online project. Our 2018 auction raised over $45,000 for Charter’97, WireGuard, and the Reporters Without Borders (RSF) Berlin Scholarship Program.
The Berlin Scholarship Program trains journalists who work under repressive regimes or in conflict zones on how to protect themselves against digital threats. Our community’s funding meant that RSF was able to support an additional fellow. We spoke with four journalists who were RSF fellows in Berlin in 2019, and they told us about how the training they received will help them report the truth while staying safe.
Even Proton itself began with a crowdfunding campaign in 2014. We strongly believe that grassroots efforts can change the world, and this year’s organizations are doing critical work to build a better internet and a more equitable society.
Thank you to everyone who participates in this year’s auction and raffle, as well as to all Proton users who have enabled us to build an internet that puts people first.
P.S. Don’t forget, the auctions and raffle end on Dec. 27!