Together with the community, we’ve given away more than €100,000 for important causes

We’re happy to announce that the 2019 Lifetime account auction has raised over €30,000. Proton will match these contributions for a total donation of over €60,000 to three organizations working to build a more equitable, free, and sustainable world: NetBlocks, 350.org, and the Web Foundation’s Women’s Rights Online project.

This is the second year of our charity auction. Between this year’s fundraiser, the 2018 Proton Lifetime auction, and our matching contributions, we have now contributed over €100,000 for important causes that align with our mission. The three causes we are supporting this year will receive €20,000 each in the coming weeks.

About the Proton Lifetime account auction

Each year, we put three Proton Lifetime accounts up for auction. The successful bidders win our most exclusive account, which entitles owners to Visionary status on all Proton products forever. Lifetime Accounts are transferable, and over the years their value has increased as the Proton suite of products continues to expand.

This year, we asked our community to nominate organizations worthy of our support. We received dozens of great suggestions and narrowed them down to three final beneficiaries.

We are thankful to all the members of the Proton community who placed bids in this year’s auction. One hundred percent of the money we raised in each of the three auctions will be contributed to the organization identified as a beneficiary on the eBay page where the bidding took place. Proton will also contribute an additional €10,000 to each organization.

How you can help this year’s organizations

If you’re a Proton subscriber, you’re already helping to build a better world, including by enabling us to support these organizations. But if you’d like to give more, you can follow the links below to donate.

NetBlocks

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 efforts align with Proton’s mission to promote Internet freedom, and their work is an invaluable resource for our team. The NetBlocks auction raised US$13,600.

Donate to NetBlocks

UPDATE: We received this note from NetBlocks to you:

“Dear ProtonMail community! Your support for the NetBlocks Internet observatory comes at a critical moment: Reliable and secure Internet connectivity has been shown to shorten conflict and alleviate crisis, giving people around the world a voice when it is most needed. Yet preserving our right to stay connected and informed demands solidarity and vigilance at the watchtower. Together we’re better set than ever to ensure that the Internet’s open architecture remains a force for good, a public interest resource worth fighting for and extending to every person.”

The World Wide Web Foundation

The World Wide Web Foundation is an international nonprofit organization that fights for an Internet that is empowering for everyone. Studies have shown that in the developing world, women are 50% less likely to have access to the Internet than men in the same community. We’ve chosen to support the Women’s Rights Online project, which is working to close the digital gender gap by expanding Internet access to women in developing countries. The World Wide Web Foundation auction raised US$11,100.

Donate to the World Wide Web Foundation

350.org

350.org is a US-based international nonprofit that uses people power to support renewable energy solutions and turn away from fossil fuels. We are supporting 350.org because we believe a transition to renewable energy is the only way to keep our planet healthy for future generations. Our home country, Switzerland, is already a leader in this area. The 350.org auction raised US$11,100.

Donate to 350.org

We are also making separate contributions to two other organizations in the communities where we have offices. We’re supporting children in Macedonia through SOS Children’s Villages and in Lithuania through Vaikų svajonės (“Children’s Dreams”). Contributions to these charities can also have a large impact on the lives of underprivileged children.

You made all this possible

As another year draws to a close, we are again deeply grateful for the support of our community. Because of your support in 2019, we were able to achieve the following:

You can now start using ProtonCalendar and ProtonMail Version 4.0 in beta. These were two major milestones that we hoped to accomplish in 2019, and thanks to the intense and coordinated efforts of our developers and cryptographers, we achieved our goal. Much work remains, and we are excited to incorporate feedback from our community during the beta phase into the final Proton 4.0 release in 2020.

You can now inspect more of our code, and developers can now use more of our code in their own apps, expanding access to online privacy and security. From GopenPGP to the ProtonMail iOS app, we’re fulfilling our commitment to the open source developer community and providing transparency and accountability to our users. 

ProtonVPN has also expanded to 45 countries globally, and we are now providing secure, uncensored, and safe Internet access to millions around the world across our network of over 600 servers. 

Our team, our products, and our infrastructure are ready to scale up to meet the privacy needs of citizens around the world. We began 2019 with about 10 million users. We are entering 2020 with more than 20 million. Some of the most important accomplishments of the past year were invisible to most of our users because they involved internal adjustments that will lay the foundation for the years to come.

Business owners have more educational resources to keep their data secure and comply with privacy regulations. We launched GDPR.EU (a guide to GDPR compliance) and published the ProtonMail Guide to IT Security for Small Businesses. Today, more businesses than ever are using ProtonMail to keep their sensitive communications safe. 

We have also stepped up our advocacy efforts. In November, we signed a letter to the European Parliament advocating changes to the controversial e-evidence proposal. We also submitted a letter to the Massachusetts legislature in support of a moratorium on the government use of face surveillance. Finally, we reaffirmed our support for defending the human rights of protesters around the world. 

Thanks to your generosity, we’re not only building a more secure and private Internet, we’re supporting other organizations that are also helping to build a better future. From fighting censorship and expanding Internet access to protecting the environment, it’s clear that the Proton community cares deeply about building a better world. Thank you. And happy New Year!

Best Regards,
The Proton Team

You can get a free secure email account from ProtonMail here.

We also provide a free VPN service to protect your privacy.

ProtonMail and ProtonVPN are funded by community contributions. If you would like to support our development efforts, you can upgrade to a paid plan or donate. Thank you for your support.

About the Author

Ben Wolford

Ben Wolford is a writer at Proton. A journalist for many years, Ben joined Proton to help lead the fight for data privacy.

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