The new year opened with a bang as ProtonMail rolled out its much-anticipated ProtonCalendar. As those of you who follow the DCC Cyber blog know, ProtonMail provides end-to-end encryption of email for free (they also have a solid VPN service that is completely secure and private—no IP logging). Now they have paired an encrypted calendar with ProtonMail. Sweet!
ProtonCalendar is in beta, but I tried it out and it worked splendidly. I recommend it. If you have a ProtonMail account, you can access the calendar function through your email account at the beta site. Don’t have a ProtonMail account? You can sign up for one quickly and easily for free or, for a few bucks a month, you can upgrade to an account with additional storage capacity, more addresses, or even an address using your customized domain name.
Why is ProtonCalendar a big deal? Privacy and security. Many people use Google Calendar because it’s a free option that allows them to segregate their personal calendar from their work calendar. As employer monitoring of employees and their digital lives has gone to the next level, this importance of separating private and professional cyberlife has gained broader acknowledgement and acceptance. But why trade one snoop for another? Google harvests users’ private information contained in the calendars to “inform their advertising.” That is, no reasonable person privacy in Google products–even the data you don’t think they have, like your medical records.
If privacy doesn’t concern you, security should. Google refused to acknowledge a cybersecurity vulnerability that left users vulnerable to phishing through their calendars—not a great indication of corporate responsibility or prioritization of cybersecurity. Google’s not the only calendar with security issues—Outlook also has had its share of vulnerabilities.
In the final analysis, Proton bases its business model on privacy. So, if it’s privacy you want, go with a product from a company determined to provide it. And if you do see the launch of the ProtonCalendar as the tipping point for leaving Google, here’s one person’s journey to quitting Google for good. (It’s a quick read from 2018, but the balanced approach makes up for the slightly dated tool recommendations.)