Fighting for privacy through advocacy

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Advocacy is an essential part of what we do at Proton because it is integral to our vision of building a better internet where privacy is the default. Technological safeguards like end-to-end encryption can dramatically improve your privacy, but they cannot solve the problem entirely on their own. Your privacy requires strong privacy laws. The same is true for the free flow of information. A VPN can help you bypass internet blocks, but having the legal right to freedom of speech is also important.

That is why, throughout our history, Proton has fought for stronger legal protections and stood up for people whose rights were being trampled. We have focused our efforts in two main areas: 

  • Fighting for strong privacy laws
  • Supporting the free flow of information

In the 2022 community survey, a majority of users thought that Proton should fight for privacy and freedom beyond technology. In line with your feedback, here are some ways we plan to continue our efforts in these two areas. 

Fighting for strong privacy laws

In recent years governments worldwide, including many democracies, have decided that watching everyone all of the time is the best way to maintain security, despite the fact that mass surveillance violates the right to privacy and is ineffective(new window). As a result, there have been many legislative attempts to weaken privacy rights, even in Europe.

We have focused our work on fighting government overreach, protecting end-to-end encryption, and creating a fair, competitive internet where privacy-focused services can flourish. Examples include:

In 2022 and the years to come, we will continue to vigorously defend the use of strong encryption and fight against mandatory data retention laws that presume guilt instead of innocence. This work involves supporting civil society groups or direct legal efforts through the courts. 

Another area of focus in 2022 will be our public policy efforts to ensure fair competition on the internet and prevent Big Tech from leveraging its monopoly power to stifle competing services. A fair and competitive internet that is not dominated by Big Tech and surveillance capitalism is essential for privacy to survive in the 21st century.

Supporting the free flow of information

Ensuring people can access accurate information is essential for democracy. Proton supports independent journalism that accurately reports the news so that people can make informed decisions. 

Along those lines, we also work to ensure that people can always access censored content. Fighting censorship and supporting independent journalism are two sides of the same coin, and both require that information flows freely. Examples of our work in this area include:

Proton will always defend the freedom of the press and the free flow of information. We continue to work closely with RSF and are also directly supporting independent journalism in Russia and Ukraine.  

Advocating for a better future

Proton’s main focus will always be building great privacy-focused services, and we are committed to Swiss neutrality and do not have a political agenda. However, as these examples demonstrate, Proton’s impact can — and must — go beyond just technology. 

With the support of the Proton community, through initiatives such as our annual Lifetime account fundraisers, we have contributed over $1,000,000 towards efforts to build a better internet and defend privacy in the future. These efforts, which would not be possible without your support, help ensure strong legal protection for privacy to go along with our encryption technology and are crucial to ensuring that freedom and democracy can endure.

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Edward Shone

Edward is the head of the Communications team at Proton, the company behind Proton Mail and Proton VPN. He has managed communications, PR, and advocacy across several sectors and for major companies. Edward has a master's in philosophy and theology from the University of Edinburgh.

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