Home News Science&Tech 5,957 requests from law enforcement services fulfilled by Proton in a year

5,957 requests from law enforcement services fulfilled by Proton in a year

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ProtonMail cooperated in nearly six thousand government requests for user data last year, which is a thousand more than in 2021. The record figure is notable because ProtonMail aims to differentiate itself with clear privacy assurances and strict Swiss legislation.

These figures can be found in Proton’s annual transparency report. In 2022, ProtonMail received almost seven thousand official government requests for user metadata (such as IP, browser data and from, to and subject lines in mailbox). Over a thousand requests were rejected, while the remaining 5,957 were complied with. In 2021, ProtonMail received over six thousand requests, of which 4,920 were complied with. In 2020, the respective numbers were over 3,700 submitted requests and 3,000 granted requests.

In response to Restoreprivacy, Proton stated that the increase in the number of submitted and granted requests is ‘not surprising’ as the service welcomes more users. Over a hundred million people now use one or more Proton services. They typically choose Proton due to its focus on anonymity and strict Swiss legislation. Government requests for user data must also go through Swiss legal channels. If Swiss law has been violated, Proton must provide user data to the Swiss government, which can then pass on the received information to the requesting government. Proton can only provide metadata, as the content of emails, attachments, and other information is always encrypted and therefore unreadable. This applies even to Proton, the company emphasizes.

The U.S. FBI is one of the government agencies that requested – and received – user data from Proton. With the help of metadata, the FBI was able to locate a U.S. ProtonMail user who was under investigation for threatening an employee involved in the presidential elections. Forbes reports this in a reconstruction, also noting that no government charges were filed against the ProtonMail user in question.

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