Email, Privacy, and You

I’ve been thinking a lot about email privacy lately. It seems the free accounts are now mining your email for ways to show you advertisements. This is not something I want, it raises all sorts of privacy concerns. Last week, I had a friend say in an email he was thinking of going to Ireland. A few hours later, I checked my gmail, only to see an email with the subject: “flash deals on trips to Ireland!”. This is not okay. If Google is reading all my email (with a machine), then it has everything about me, where I eat, where I shop, what my hobbies are, my doctors appointments, what my friends are doing, where I’m going on my calendar, this is not good.

I have plenty of private servers floating around that I could use as a private email server, this is probably the ideal scenario, I can build a system with encrypted communication, and an encrypted file system, it’s private to me, so nobody can use it. I’ve built plenty of email servers before, and still manage a few for clients. The main issue for me with private servers is spam filtering. Managing spam is a big hassle, keeping lists updated, updating rules, packages, etc. If I have a service do the filtering, I’m still lacking privacy, using someone who is mining my emails looking for spam, may also be logging them for advertisement purposes. On client systems, we usually use Google for spam filtering, it works great, or we just give them G suite all together, or 365, both are pretty effortless to manage.

Maybe the next best thing is a service I can trust. My questions though, can I use my domains? Will it be around? Can my mail be encrypted on their disk so that only my login decrypts? I use zoho right now for my personal domains, its cheap, and a good service, but I don’t know anything about their privacy policy, I should check into it. I have a protonmail account, its great in theory, but I don’t much use it, since you have to pay a lot for the services I need (I have about 12 domains I need email access on). A friend of mine just made the switch from Gmail over to fastmail and is giving it a good recommendation, they happen to have a month free trial.

I think I’ll move a test domain to fastmail and see how it goes for now. It’s going to cost me double per year over zoho.. We’ll see.

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