Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Paypal Freezes MIT Startup ProtonMail Funds for No Valid Reason

PayPal, ProtonMail, email, encryption, NSA, security, privacy
ProtonMail Homepage
 ProtonMail, an End-to-End Encrypted email service developed by MIT, Harvard and CERN researchers, who already received over $275,000 from a crowdfunding campaigns to their PayPal account, and was so excited to launch its beta version, but just before that PayPal freezes their account without any warning.

“At this time, it is not possible for ProtonMail to receive or send funds through PayPal,” ProtonMail co-founder Andy Yen announced this morning. “No attempt was made by PayPal to contact us before freezing our account, and no notice was given.”

ProtonMail is a new super-secure email service that encrypts the data on the browser before it communicates with the server, this means only encrypted data is stored in the email service servers. ProtonMail will implement AES, RSA and OpenPGP encryptions and moreover, there is even a “self-destruct” feature in the email service which ensures your emails are only available for a limited period of time.

ProtonMail service is based in Switzerland, so it won't have to comply with American courts’ demands to provide users data. But a representative from the American payment service PayPal told the company that the payment service is not at all sure if ProtonMail is legal or not and asked them for the necessary government approvals to encrypt emails.

On their blog, Proton states, “He [Paypal representative] questioned whether ProtonMail is legal and if we have government approval to encrypt emails. We are not sure which government PayPal is referring to, but even the 4th Amendment of the US constitution guarantees: The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures….”

It seems to me that PayPal is deeply in cahoots with the NSA. Or, maybe they're just trying to steal the cash. Either way, they are so wrong about this that we web developers need to think seriously about moving our own payment processing needs to another vendor. Here's a good list of the top 12 alternatives.

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