Proton turns 7

A photo of the Proton team

In May 2014, we created ProtonMail on the premise that an internet where privacy is the default is essential to building a better world. On the 7th anniversary of the founding of ProtonMail, we wanted to take a moment to reflect and thank everyone who helped us get where we are today. Proton’s history as a project created by scientists who met at CERN, also the birthplace of the World Wide Web, is well known. But equally important is the community that has made our work possible. 

Over the past 7 years, our movement has grown exponentially as people have chosen ProtonMail, ProtonVPN, and other Proton products to protect their privacy. Back in 2014, ProtonMail was received as a niche product because an internet that puts privacy first was treated like a wild idea, but today it seems like common sense. This privacy shift is something that will change the world for the better, and we’re proud that the Proton community has been leading this fight. 

In a very literal way, Proton is for the people, by the people. We exist today thanks to an incredible crowdfunding campaign and your continued support over the past 7 years. This has allowed Proton to grow and develop new privacy-focused services, including ProtonVPN, Proton Calendar, and Proton Drive. Together, we have been active in the greater privacy debate, advocating for privacy-focused alternatives, challenging Big Tech and government surveillance, and demanding better data protection laws. 

Together, we can create another internet, one where you can choose what information you share and who can see it.

Our work continues

Today, the fact that over 50 million people have signed up for Proton services illustrates just how far privacy is reaching into the mainstream. Without the Proton community acting as champions for privacy, none of this would have been possible.

However, on balance, we still have much to do. There are still billions of people using an internet that exploits their data for profit and does not have their best interests at heart. Our mission continues to be to create more trusted ways for people to be secure online and in control of their information at all times.  

Moving forward as an organization, we will be putting a much stronger emphasis on delivering better and better user experiences. After all, building the most private service in the world is not useful if it is too difficult for anybody to use. Our relentless focus on product will, as always, be driven by our community. As Proton only exists because of our community, we exist to serve you, and we only build products according to your needs. 

Over the course of 2021, we will be releasing brand new versions of ProtonMail on all platforms, starting with web. We will also be bringing Proton Calendar and Proton Drive to all users on all platforms. These enhancements will lead to a more easy-to-use and complete Proton ecosystem, one that can protect your privacy in many more ways and reach more people.

The challenges ahead also require Proton to do more than writing software. While it is clear that people want more privacy and freedom online, there are also strong forces determined to prevent this at all costs. The success of anti-encryption movements in Australia and the UK has also shown us that we must always remain vigilant and that progress is not always constant. Big Tech companies are also increasingly leveraging their market dominance to ensure that alternatives do not thrive and threaten their monopolies. Such anti-competitive behavior is now subject to antitrust investigations in both the US and the EU. 

In the years to come, you can also expect us to engage more with policymakers on these issues as we work to ensure that the internet of the future is one that puts your interests first. 

Thank you for your support

Together, we have achieved incredible things over the past 7 years. With your help, Proton has gone from an idea of how the internet could be better to the forefront of the global privacy wave. So today, on our 7th birthday, we want to thank every member of the Proton community. Your support has enabled our work. Your choices have driven this movement. We look forward to what we can achieve together in the coming years.

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Feel free to share your feedback and questions with us via our official social media channels on Twitter and Reddit. Note that while blog comments also remain open, questions and feedback will not be responded to individually. Where relevant, we will incorporate the most frequently asked questions or comments into a blog update.

About the Author

Andy Yen

Andy is the Founder and CEO of Proton, the company behind ProtonMail and ProtonVPN. He is a long time advocate of privacy rights and has spoken at TED, SXSW, and the Asian Investigative Journalism Conference about online privacy issues. Previously, Andy was a research scientist at CERN and has a PhD in Particle Physics from Harvard University. You can watch his TED talk online to learn more about our mission.

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8 comments on “Proton turns 7

  • I’m very happy for ProtonMail and I am very proud to be an early-backer through Indiegogo from 2014 as well. Look how far we’ve gone. it’s amazing all the accomplishments ProtonMail has made, from providing a secure email service to fighting for freedom all around the world. I’m glad to be part of the ProtonMail community.

    Happy 7 years!

    Congratulations Andy and all the ProtonMail team!

    Reply
  • Hi there. Turns out that in other to login to my account I have to complete a captch from google. How on earth is this ‘privacy protecting’, exactly?

    Reply
  • I wish I had known about Proton Mail 7 years ago…you are the best! I’m recommending Proton products at every opportunity tho’ being retired and nearing octogenarian status it’s somewhat limited.

    Reply
  • You mention privacy and ease of use but in your celebratory statements. I’ve communicated with you earlier this year about the difficulties that users are having logging in to our accounts particulalrly when using Tor or Proxy as we keep getting messages when using your onion address https://protonirockerxow.onion/ which say ‘Too many recent login attempts’

    I am using the service properly with two password authentication and yet still after dialogue with your team am still experiencing this problem.
    Please fix this as it runs counter to your declaration of desire for ease of use. In fact it gets in the way of me reading and replying promptly to important email from/to family and friends and others.
    This crude block (probably as a ‘security’ measure like the cursed ‘captcha’ is making life difficult for users every day.

    Another thing is that you ask users (in the page form here to send this email) who are looking for security and privacy what their name and website is. This is absurd. My previous communications to you seem to have been ignored as nothing has changed. This needs to be a usable system for all. if you are putting in security measures put in something that still allows ease of use.

    Reply
  • Good afternoon, Andy,

    I just want to share that I do not like the new updated ProtonMail. It seems so juvenile with all the initials beside my emails and does not look professional. Who is your target audience for this change? I’ve been a Proton user for a while and why should you fix something that works well and isn’t broken? Very disappointed.

    Reply