ProtonMail threatens legal action over reports it gave up French activists’ IP address

ProtonMail, the popular email provider known for its strong encryption, is at the center of a controversy after reports emerged that it had cooperated with law enforcement in the arrest of climate activists. The company has threatened legal action against the media outlets that reported the story, claiming that they are spreading false information.

The story first broke on February 3, when French media outlets reported that police had arrested several climate activists based on information provided by ProtonMail. According to the reports, investigators had asked the email provider to disclose the IP addresses of the activists, and ProtonMail had complied with the request.

ProtonMail has denied the reports, saying that it did not provide any information that would identify its users. The company has also accused the media outlets of spreading false information and threatened legal action if they do not retract their stories.

This is not the first time that ProtonMail has been accused of cooperating with law enforcement. In 2019, the company faced similar allegations after it was revealed that it had handed over the IP address of a user suspected of making bomb threats. The company denied the allegations at the time, but later admitted that it had provided the information after a Swiss court ordered it to do so.

The controversy surrounding ProtonMail highlights the tension between privacy and law enforcement. While many people use ProtonMail and similar services to protect their communications from surveillance, law enforcement agencies argue that such services are also used by criminals and terrorists to hide their activities. In recent years, governments around the world have been pushing for greater access to encrypted communications, arguing that they need to be able to intercept these messages to prevent terrorist attacks and other crimes.

ProtonMail has long been a favorite of privacy advocates, who praise the company’s commitment to encryption and user privacy. The company is based in Switzerland, which has some of the strongest privacy laws in the world, and it has built its reputation on its refusal to cooperate with law enforcement. However, the recent allegations have raised questions about whether the company is living up to its promises.