The Shield that Guards your Privacy
Mailshield will be a Swiss company providing secure email service that will offer webmail as well as POP3 and IMAP access. We will provide you with an e-mail address with the strongest privacy protection on the World: no one will be able to read your emails (including us), but you.
The whistleblower Edward Snowden exposed a very startling truth: everything you say or write on the Internet can become exposed by tech-savy people. Some police forces — primarily, the NSA from the USA and the GCHQ from the UK — routinely listen to everything, and of course many criminals do just the same.
We are a group of programmers, system administrators, and security experts who aim to bring back privacy and security to means of communication, starting from your mailbox
- The Swiss Federal Constitution (read it here) says it all in Article 13: Every person has the right to privacy in their private and family life and in their home, and in relation to their mail and telecommunications. Every person has the right to be protected against the misuse of their personal data.
- We will use servers physically placed in Switzerland and under our own direct control: no cloud computing, no outsourcing. We will only make use of open source software: no backdoors for corporations and governments.
- On our website we will explain in simple terms, with easy screenshots and examples, how to configure your PC, Mac, Linux box, iPhone, or iPad in order to make your end secure. Many of the tips and tricks here will be usable with other email providers. We will plainly mark them as such, so that even people who are not our customers can make their computers as secure as they can be.
- After launch, we will investigate how to allow you to buy a mailbox anonymously, with cash. We won’t know who you are, if you don’t want us to.
- We will employ cryptography everywhere — when receiving, sending, and storing email, as well as on our website, including e-commerce pages and webmail.
If you want to, we will encrypt your whole mailbox. This means that no one will be able to read your emails including us.
- In the event that a Swiss federal judge asks us to reveal any data to the authorities, we will of course comply. We will also regularly publish a statistical report detailing the amount of cases in which this has happened, the provision (law) under which request has been made and — if known to us — the foreign government that issued that request. This is known as a warrant canary and can be used by our customers to see if they could potentially be the subject of an ongoing investigation.
We are an international team of six engineers, system administrators and security experts between 40 and 50 years of age. We have been working together for the past fifteen years on projects such as e-commerce, secure file sharing, private telecommunications, and finance. Our customers include big and moderately sized companies in Switzerland and elsewhere in Europe. Our team comes from three countries: Switzerland, Italy and Russia.
The Mailshield project was born from a simple, yet profound series of discussions. Essentially, what we have been doing for companies can be of help to professionals and private citizens all over the world. The whistleblower, Edward Snowden, had the world stand up and understand what we in computer security have been suspecting for some time. Governments and big data companies, together, have subverted the phone system, the email system, and the web. Privacy is dead for you if you, the consumer, the citizen, do not take a stand and choose to protect yourself. We are here to help.
We have searched for the technologies that can protect telecommunication. We have looked for all the defects present in protocols, softwares, and operating systems subverted by national security agencies and hackers. Here, the Edward Snowden papers have been paramount. For example, we now know that the NSA has been investing almost a hundred million dollars for a quantum computer, but still they don’t have one. A quantum computer is theoretically predicted to be capable of breaking Diffie-Hellmann crypto. Therefore, we are using Diffie-Hellmann crypto everywhere to ensure that our data will be safe even from the powerful NSA.
We have decided to create a brand new company for this. Mailshield will be incorporated in Switzerland (a democracy which is centuries old and treasures privacy) and will only work on secure telecommunications — starting with email, then branching into file storage and voice — for the people and the small companies who do not have the equipment and resources necessary to protect themselves. If we are successful, we plan to develop the business.
When you think of Switzerland you probably come up with postcard images of precision watches, cheese and chocolate, and snow peaks and banks. But consider that Switzerland is a multi-lingual, multi-religion confederacy of sovereign states, under a federal charter since 1291. For more than eight centuries Switzerland has been independent and neutral: from the Holy Roman Empire to the European Powers under the Council of Vienna, and from NATO to the Warsaw pact. It remains firm in its neutrality today, as is evident in the case of European Union.
The Swiss Federal Constitution is among the oldest constitutions in the world, making Switzerland a direct democracy. The central government is granted very limited powers (there are only seven government departments and the president is one of the seven ministers, holding office for only one year granted no additional powers). The citizens can revoke or propose laws, and even change the Constitution itself by referendum.
What will your dollars buy?
The funds we receive will go towards:
- Buying physical servers, installing open source operating systems and software, hardening them, firewalling them, and creating a secure in-place backup system. We already know how. We've done this for quite a few big customers in the past. Now we want to give the same military-level security to you.
- Placing the servers in a Swiss server farm and maintaining them with ample international bandwidth.
- Developing a unique system for handling incoming email and storing it in the customers’ mailboxes in a strongly encrypted form (see #6, above).
- Incorporating a new company, MailShield SA, in Switzerland which will be 100% dedicated to develop more new security services in telecommunications, including file storage and voice.
- Paying the lawyers -- we want a bullet-proof statute of services. Additionally, in event that we get harassed by foreign agents, nosy police officers, taxmen, jealous ex boyfriends with law degrees, people who speak aloud in theaters, and other bad, bad people, we can defend ourselves vigorously and send them to hell. A special hell.
If we do not reach the financial goal, the funds you provide will not be withdrawn from your credit card account. You will not lose one cent.
If we exceed the financial goal, we will add more features starting with localization in multiple languages of our website and tools.
All of our customers will get the most secure email mailbox that can possibly exist. Size and accessories depend on the contribution. See the available perks on the right.
To reiterate, this is not rocket science for us. We've done it time and again. We do not anticipate any issues and we are very confident that everything will be in place four months after the Indigogo campaign is finished.
We are listening
Let us highlight that this is just the start. We already have many ideas for more features, and we know that you have ideas too so share them with us.
Further, we have added two unique perks to the list: a direct, one-to-one chat with our engineers and/or lawyers. If you have any special requirements, we are willing to listen and create something tailored to your needs.
Other Ways You Can Help
Please, help us get the word out and share our campaign. We know that many people need this kind of service: lawyers and dissidents, religious citizens in atheist countries and atheists in theocracies, honest people in fear of not-so-honest governments… This will work if the word gets out, because everybody needs privacy.
In the short term if everybody requests this service, we will get many customers and will be able to create not only the most secure, but the best email system in the world, and will continue to enhance it. Looking towards the impending future, we will get competition, which will raise the bar for everybody. If Google is finally forced to add security to GMail, for example -- if they start supporting the S/MIME protocol for which every security professional in the world has been asking for years -- everybody wins. In the long term, even boneheaded politicians all over the world will start to get the message: we, the people, care for our privacy; so move your big asses and do your jobs, politicos: change the laws, dismiss the people in charge of your secret services and make the Internet the secure place it was always meant to be.
Let's do this together.