Education & Numérique
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Harvard & MIT Students Have Created an Email So Secure Even the NSA Can't Crack It

Harvard & MIT Students Have Created an Email So Secure Even the NSA Can't Crack It | Education & Numérique |

Nearly a year ago, former CIA technical assistant Edward Snowden stepped forward to say he was responsible for one of the most explosive leaks in history. The National Security Agency was exposed, and Andy Yen, a Harvard PhD candidate, was appalled.


"I posted on Facebook, 'Hey, I don't really like the fact the government is wiretapping us. What's happening in America?'"


After Yen posed the question, dozens started chiming in, equally as startled and determined to change the conversation. As Snowden had said last summer:


"I can't, in good conscience, allow the U.S. government to destroy privacy, Internet freedom and basic liberties for people around the world with this massive surveillance machine they're secretly building."


At the time, Yen was working at the European Organization for Nuclear Research in Switzerland, known as CERN, where the elusive "God Particle" was discovered, coincidentally alongside a handful of other Cambridge, Mass.-educated students from either Harvard or MIT. A team of five suddenly formed, all focused on creating a service stronger than Lavabit, Snowden's email provider.


That service is called ProtonMail, and it is launching out of private beta Friday.


ProtonMail is end-to-end encrypted email that is based offshore in Switzerland, where the team could operate free of surveillance mandates. Although "encryption is not necessarily a new technology," according to Yen, "only one to two percent of the population knows how to do it." ProtonMail handles the entire process without forcing users to install any software, and promises NSA-proof correspondence.


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Via Chuck Sherwood, Senior Associate, TeleDimensions, Inc
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Bitmessage: Choice Of A Rightly Paranoid Generation

Bitmessage: Choice Of A Rightly Paranoid Generation | Education & Numérique |
Bitmessage is not without its flaws, but it offers hope to those who want to keep their private communications private.


"In the wake of news that the NSA may be spying on citizen communications, many are asking how to secure email and other messaging protocols to keep prying eyes away. While some have traditionally turned to Pretty Good Privacy (PGP) encryption or other encryption programs to secure their communications, none of these keep the NSA or others from keeping tabs on essential metadata like the identity of your email recipients. Bitmessage, a peer-to-peer communications protocol, may offer a better way..."

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