Do you know what about one in four people does first thing in the morning? No, it’s not brushing their teeth. It’s checking their email.
According to MarketingProfs, 26% of people check their email while still in bed.
Most people check their email at least 1-3 times per day (44%), while more than 10% does this activity over 15 times per day, says Statista.
That just goes to show you how important email is in our lives (and that some people take it a step too far).
But as you are getting a lot from using email, the company behind that email service and the government along with it are getting a lot from you.
A lot more than you signed up for.
So, should you take it for granted that they are spying on your conversations?
Regular Webmail Services and Their “Concern” for Your Privacy
If you’re using Gmail or Yahoo! Mail, you are using a webmail service.
Webmail allows you to access your email inbox from a web browser and is also usually free. The problem is that you can’t use it if you’re offline. If you want to open an old email, reply, draft, compose or send a new email, you need a working Internet connection.
One thing should concern you even more than not being able to open and send emails offline. The amount of data an email service like Gmail is taking without your consent.
Google isn’t even shy about not caring for your privacy. A few years ago, Google came under severe criticism for saying that “people who use web-based email today cannot be surprised if their communications are processed by the recipients ECS (electronic communication service) provider in the course of delivery”.
If that doesn’t say “we don’t care about your privacy and will happily read your emails”, I don’t know what does.
Can You Set Up Gmail as an Anonymous Webmail?
You might be asking, can you set up Gmail as a secure anonymous webmail?
Let me explain.
Gmail (or Yahoo for that matter) is not designed to be private (read that quote again). So if you want to make an anonymous webmail service out of it, you’ll have to find a way to “trick it”.
Here’s what I mean.
To sign up to a Google account, which you’ll need to use Gmail, you need to:
- Go to the Create your Google Account page.
- Enter your First name, Last name, Username and password. Luckily, you don’t have to use your real name and can instead use a fake one.
- Next, you need to verify your phone number. This is where most people’s dream of using Gmail as an anonymous webmail comes crashing down.
There is a way around this as well, but it requires you to use an anonymous text messaging service. This means extra work finding one that works in your country (a lot of them only work for numbers in the U.S.) and won’t require registration (i.e. you don’t have to leave your credentials).
And then, even if you got the phone verification part sorted out, your IP address might still give you away.
Finding an IP from an email is terrifyingly easy:
- Open a message from a person or company whose IP you want to find.
- Click the icon next to the “Reply” arrow.
- Select “Show Original”.
- Search for text (CTRL+F) begining with “Received: from and you’ll find their IP.
If it’s that easy for someone, imagine how easy it is for Google, your ISP or the government to track you using your email and IP.
What Does an Actual Anonymous Webmail Service Look Like?
Does this mean that an anonymous webmail is a pipe dream?
You just need an actual anonymous webmail service dedicated to preserving your privacy and security.
CTemplar is such a service and it’s easy to set up.
- Go to CTemplar.com and click Sign Up for Free button
- Select your account type
- Type in your username and password and you’re all set (you’ll need an invitation code for a free account).
- Click Create Account
And you’re all set to enjoy your anonymous webmail!
No extra steps to hide your phone number (CTemplar doesn’t ask you for it), or your IP address (we don’t record, monitor, store or log anything, including your IP).
In fact, it’s impossible to trace an outgoing email back to you as your email will show CTemplar’s IP and not yours.
But what if the government wants to see your emails?
Your emails are stored on dedicated servers in Iceland.
Why did we choose Iceland and not somewhere else?
Because Iceland has the strictest privacy laws in the world.
Iceland has no data retention laws for webmail. Once you delete an email, it doesn’t stay stored for 6 more months. It’s instantly deleted.
Furthermore, Iceland is also outside the 14-Eyes intelligence-gathering and surveillance coalition.
The United States, for example, has something called the national security letter (NSL). What NSL allows an agency like the FBI to do is see any information from any company, at any moment, regardless of its privacy statement.
For instance, when Edward Snowden was using a service called Lavabit to contact his lawyers, the U.S. government simply waived this letter and could see not only Snowden’s metadata, but also the private SSL keys of other Lavabit customers.
In other words, don’t expect digital privacy if your data is in a 14EY country.
CTemplar’s Dedication to Transparency
Do we claim to be the best anonymous webmail?
No. We know there’s still a long way to get there.
But we don’t bury our heads in the sand and ignore criticism. In fact, we have a Zero Censorship policy. We believe listening to user’s positive AND negative feedback is the only true way of delivering an excellent webmail service.
Are you using our encrypted email? We would very much like to hear your opinion as well.