French police arrested a climate activist based on clues that included the IP he used to communicate with Proton Mail. Founded in 2013, ProtonMail is based in Switzerland and offers a secure email service, with encrypted mailbox and double authentication facts and supposedly supposed to be tamper proof. According to a tweet by handle @tenacioustek, ProtonMail received a request from Europol via the Swiss authorities to provide information on Youth for Climate in Paris; ProtonMail provided the police with the IP address and information about the type of device used.
Today, its founder and CEO Andy Yen posted a post on the ProtonMail blog titled “Clarifications on Climate Activist Arrest.” The text says “we are deeply concerned about this case and regret that the legal instruments for serious crimes are being used in this way. In the interest of transparency, we would like to provide additional context. In this case, Proton has received a legally binding order from the Swiss authorities which we are required to comply with. There was no possibility of appealing this specific request”.
The issue revolves around the actions of some members of the green Youth for Climate movement, accused of having created “climate camp” occupations in 2020 and 2021. Although these incidents took place in Paris, the investigation revealed that some activists were using o ProtonMail to communicate your activities. The Swiss government therefore ordered the e-mail service to provide the IP addresses of the aforementioned users, which led to his arrest.
The company was asked to own the IP addresses of users when it announced that it does not register IP addresses by default. Andy Yen, founder and CEO of ProtonMail, explains that the company only started recording the IP addresses of certain users after being legally forced to do so by Swiss authorities.