Mailfence design philosophy

Mailfence design philosophy

Few people realize how much information they give up by using the internet. Therefore many might think that they don’t care about privacy. But they don’t realize just how much personal data is stored for commercial purposes and they don’t know and cannot control how governments, corporations or other entities use the information which is willingly put online…

If they did realize, they would probably be much more careful.

We think that what you don’t know CAN hurt you. That’s why internet users’ absolute and irrevocable right to privacy is at the heart of the Mailfence design philosophy.

Email is a great communication technology, but it also makes you and your computers susceptible to viruses, spam, phishing, scams and other online threats. What makes Mailfence stand out from all other email services is that it has been conceived to protect you and your privacy.

The Mailfence offering :

Mailfence is a service without advertising or backdoors. It is safely hosted in Belgium and uses a non-US SSL/TLS certificate.  We provide end-to-end encryption which makes eavesdropping impossible and renders intercepted data utterly useless. We also offer digital signing capability for authenticating digital messages and documents. A digital signature tells the recipient that the message was created by a known sender, prevents the sender from denying having sent the message, and validates the integrity of the message. All of which is useful for private individuals or professionals who want to protect themselves from identity forgery or tampering.

What is Mailfence design philosophy ?
In short Mailfence has three fundamental privacy characteristics:

1 – Pure end-to-end encryption

End-to-end encryption varies greatly in terms of implementation.  At Mailfence we offer the full stack. Mailfence uses OpenPGP.  All the encryption/decryption & digital signing occur in the user’s browser.  Our servers (along with all the intermediaries) have absolutely zero knowledge of the message content and attachments – making it a pure end-to-end encryption (E2EE) solution.  We offer encryption in its true essence because our users are able to exchange encrypted emails with any other solution that supports OpenPGP.  Users are not limited to use encryption only with other mailfence user (as opposed to several other secure email solutions that limit secure communication only to within their platform).  As a matter of fact, users can even send unencrypted emails or can only sign their emails and not encrypt them. Therefore, the ball is in the user’s court !

 2 – Allow absolute control and freedom

In order to set-up encryption, users have been provided an integrated key-store (a space within the account that can store user key-pairs, other public keys etc).  This key-store allows users to perform efficient key-management (generate, import, export, modify, revoke, delete or publish/fetch PGP public keys…) all from within the application environment. There is absolutely no dependency on any third-party client and users are able to manage their keys – whenever they want, wherever they want and whichever way they want – thereby giving them the ultimate freedom over their E2EE functionality in a single independent platform.

3 – Provide a complete package that is easy to use

This is indeed one of the biggest challenge. Without compromising the true essence of end-to-end encryption we want to offer a complete package to our users without any dependency on third party services, plugins,….   We believe we provide something which is not only easy to use but also incorporates all the typical features of a topnotch messaging platform (contacts, documents, calendar etc).

If you are asking: ‘Is this the best online privacy solution that actually does what it says ?’. Our answer is: ‘It’s up to you to be the judge of that’.  We went in public Beta in March 2016. We know that there are still imperfections and several things we want to do to reach our vision.  However, we do think we are well on the way of creating the very best secure and private email.

Do judge us on the facts rather than words. Sign up for a free account and regain your email privacy. We continuously improve this service, so do not hesitate to send us your feedback, queries, suggestions, requests…

Got some questions about Mailfence design philosophy ? Feel free to contact our support (support at mailfence dot com).

Reclaim your email privacy!

Follow us on twitter/reddit and keep yourself posted at all times.

– Mailfence Team


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Patrick De Schutter

Patrick De Schutter is a serial digital entrepreneur and startup investor. In 2000 he launched one of the European pioneers of cloud software. He is a strong believer and advocate of encryption and privacy. With his company Mailfence, he supports the fight for digital rights and donates part of its revenues to support the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the European Digital Rights Foundation. Twitter: @pdeschutter

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