ProtonMail Fights Censorship by Adding Tor Support

The world’s largest encrypted email provider, with over two million users, is taking active measures to defend against state-sponsored censorship.

January 19th, 2017
Geneva, Switzerland

ProtonMail is announcing today the introduction of a Tor hidden service (onion site) which will allow users to directly connect to their encrypted email accounts through the Tor network. The move is aimed at countering actions by totalitarian governments around the world that are cutting off access to privacy tools.

The move also comes on the heels of recent events such as the Egyptian government’s move to block encrypted chat app Signal, and the passage of the Investigatory Powers Bill in the UK that mandates tracking all web browsing activity. Since ProtonMail was first launched in 2014 by scientists who met at CERN, the service has quickly become the favored email provider for journalists and activists around the world who require easy-to-use email encryption.

“Given our recent growth, we realize that the censorship of ProtonMail in certain countries is inevitable and we are proactively working to prevent this” says ProtonMail Co-Founder Dr. Andy Yen, “Tor provides a way to circumvent certain Internet blocks so improving our compatibility with Tor is a natural first step.”

The development of ProtonMail’s onion site was done with advice from the Tor Project, the developers of the Tor software which is used by millions of people worldwide to safeguard their online privacy. With the launch of ProtonMail’s onion site, the Swiss company has become the largest email provider in the world to officially offer Tor support.

“Tor is an invaluable tool for protecting online freedom and guarding against state surveillance and censorship,” says Tor Project Executive Director Shari Steele, “We are always glad to see the increased adoption of Tor, and this appears to be a good example of how Tor onion services can be utilized for the public benefit.”

Anybody connected to the Tor network can now connect to ProtonMail’s onion site by visiting the following URL: https://protonirockerxow.onion

For easy access to the Tor network, ProtonMail and the Tor Project recommend using the Tor Browser.

About ProtonMail

ProtonMail is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, near CERN (the European Organization for Nuclear Research) where the founding team met in 2013. Every day, the ProtonMail team, brought together by a shared vision of protecting civil liberties, works to advance Internet security and privacy. Since its inception, ProtonMail’s infrastructure has been located exclusively in Switzerland, under the protection of some of the world’s strongest privacy laws.

For more information, please visit: https://protonmail.com

Media inquiries: media@protonmail.ch

About Tor

The Tor Project (TorProject.org) is a non-profit organization that develops and distributes free software and has built an open and free network that helps people defend against online surveillance. Tor is used by human rights defenders, diplomats, journalists, government officials, and millions of ordinary people who value privacy and anonymity.

The Tor Project’s Mission Statement: “To advance human rights and freedoms by creating and deploying free and open anonymity and privacy technologies, supporting their unrestricted availability and use, and furthering their scientific and popular understanding.”

Follow them on Twitter: @torproject

Media inquiries: press@torproject.org

About the Author

Admin

We are scientists, engineers, and developers drawn together by a shared vision of protecting civil liberties online. Ensuring online privacy and security are core values for the ProtonMail team, and we strive daily to protect your rights online.

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13 comments on “ProtonMail Fights Censorship by Adding Tor Support

  • > For easy access to the Tor network, ProtonMail and the Tor Project recommend using the Tor Browser.

    If you use TBB, you will get this error. Please fix it.

    TypeError: asm.js type error: Disabled by javascript.options.asmjs in about:config openpgp.min.js

    Reply
      • I already enabled javascript. The problem is TBB ship with “javascript.options.asmjs = false”.
        asmjs!=JavaScript.
        Can you talk to Tor project about this?

        Reply
        • asmjs is disabled because it’s a crap. It will be removed from Firefox (replaced by WebAssembly) soon.
          You shouldn’t use it.
          But if you want it anyways: set javascript.options.asmjs = true in about:config

          Reply
          • asm.js is definitely not crap. It gave birth to WebAssembly which is indeed an improvement.

            Tor disables it for reasons that have nothing to do with quality. It’s either a privacy or a security reason, as Tor users have different needs than regular users.

  • It still does not address how your JavaScript delivered to the clients cannot be checksumed against the open source repository or any open third parties. Clients have to blindly trust that it hasn’t been altered from the open copy, knowingly or unknowingly, on your servers or by your service providers before the clients receive it.

    Reply