1.2 Digital Privacy: Email

1.2 Digital Privacy: Email

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Email is the main door for our web presence, i.e, All accounts and actions are linked to our email address. I have tried AOL, yahoo, outlook in the last 15 years but have stuck with Gmail for a long time.

Gmail is as ubiquitous as Google Analytics, and just as focused on data harvesting as the rest of Google. Years ago they modified their terms of service to state that ‘automated systems analyze your content’ - meaning they read your emails so they can serve you targeted ads. Google uses this data from Gmail alongside what they collect about us from search results, map requests, Youtube views, and everything else in order to send us targeted ads. Search (obviously) and spam blocking are still two killer features, but over the past couple of years, I’ve become disenfranchised with Gmail. I’m sick of being a product to Google, knowing that everything that goes in and out of my Gmail account is tracked to sell me more crap I don’t need or dump me into advertising targeting cohorts all around the web. Fast forward to 2020, and very little has changed with Gmail

Hey email

Yes, I use hey email although it operates from a US jurisdiction email provider. I am aware that email is the skeleton key for your digital life and Hey is not suggested to share highly sensitive data like ip, health, etc unless it's using a PGP exchange. For me, I wanted to take control of ads, subscriptions, trojans which was par best covered in hey email in the very first version. I have been using it for the past six weeks and, boy, it's a peach.


Spy pixels, image trojans

they promise never to sell your information or track you, and they will show you each time an email you received has had its tracking pixel blocked. Seeing a sales email show up with the big purple color callout that Hey has prevented them from tracking you is also satisfying :)

Clips is a great feature that I wish Hey would tout more. You can select an area of text and save it for easy access. This is perfect when you need to keep a confirmation number, someone’s phone number, or other bite-sized bits of information without having to search for it within an email. You can also add personal notes to any email to remind you about anything you want that is only visible to you.

Inbox, the feed, Paper trail

I spent a few hours going to the key websites I use and updating my email address so they would go straight to Hey instead of coming in via forwarding. While I had originally dreaded this, I found it liberating just thinking about all of the websites that would never know my new email address! It felt like moving houses and not bringing the crap with me that I never used anyway!

Endnote: For high sensitive file data exchange, I recommend you guys to go for Proton mail. I know ProtonMail offers end-to-end encryption for email, but that only works if both parties are using ProtonMail (and not everyone I know uses it). If I need complete privacy and security in communications, I’ll use secret chats on Telegram or Signal, and not email.

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