The loss of online privacy has been getting a lot of press recently. Many folks are particularly worried about decreased privacy for their email accounts. Since you are reading this, you are probably one of those people, so let’s talk about this.
Online privacy is so much in the news these days that it is no wonder people are concerned. Particularly worrisome is the idea that our email accounts aren’t private.
Unfortunately, the little bit of online privacy we enjoyed is decreasing, rather than increasing. Why? There are two main reasons. One is that Western governments believe pervasive spying on everyone somehow improves our security. Another is that major companies want access to your personal data so they can better sell you stuff.
So the problem is clear. But what can you do about it? You could try the political route. Get out there and campaign to get your government to change its policies. Also demand that every major company change their data-grabbing ways.
A Better Solution: Offshore Email Accounts
I think the best thing for you to do is to look at moving your email someplace with stronger privacy laws.
Privacy laws vary from country to country. There are still some places protect your online privacy rights far more than countries like the US or the UK. If your email is stored in one of those places, you will have greater protections than in others. One example is Norway, which has perhaps the strongest online privacy laws in the world.
Note: I need to be crystal clear here. We’re not talking about doing anything illegal. I’m not a fan of civil disobedience as a way to affect change. I am one of those old-fashioned guys who still believes in personal rights and privacy as key elements of a civil society. It is in this spirit that I offer up the following information.
You have two major factors to consider if you want to enhance the privacy of your email. One thing of course is which locations and services have the best privacy policies. The second is where you live.
Norway, for example, provides greater online privacy protection than countries like the US. That makes this all simple. Just sign up with a service based in Norway and you’re all set, right?
Unfortunately, no. You need to consider the country you live in as well. You want your email to live in a different jurisdiction than you do. Why? Because your email is less secure if it is hosted in your home country. Let me explain.
Say you are a US citizen using an email service that is based in the US. There are many US government agencies that can get access to your email if they choose to. The access is easy because everything is governed by the rules of the US government.
Uncle Sam wants to read your email? No problem. A US lawyer convinces a US judge that your email is relevant to some lawsuit? You’re out of luck. Your privacy is compromised when everything is in the same country.
When another country’s laws are involved, everything becomes tougher for these people. They need the cooperation of that nation’s government and consideration of their privacy laws. This adds extra layers of protection for you, and added time and expense for them.
Let’s talk about Norway again for a second. For most of us, this is a great country to host our email in. But if you are Norwegian, hosting your email in Norway has some potential drawbacks. As a Norwegian citizen, your email would be right where your government has the most control.
I’m not trying to imply the Norwegian government would violate their own privacy laws. But of all the governments in the world, they would have the easiest time doing so if they chose to. Remember we’re talking about minimizing potential risks. If you are Norwegian, consider other places to host your email.
Ok, let’s summarize then. You can increase your email privacy by moving your email offshore. There are several options. You just need to find one that is appropriate for your situation.
Check out the links below for some great options!