Take Back Your Email

Own You Own Email

If you have followed the technology related privacy news at all in the last year, you know that your average free email service now has zero expectation of privacy. This isn’t even “tin foil hat” style speculation now. It is well established that the NSA indexes all the email traveling through the major free email services. Moreover, Google has changed their terms of service to essentially read that you have no expectation of privacy. They routinely scan and index your messages for ads before you even see the message. Now they scan any pictures for child pornography, and proactively report anything found to law enforcement. The follow on question is how long before they start scanning for copyrighted music, pictures, or a plagiarized essay?

I for one have reached the point where I don’t want to wait around in that environment anymore. I have always used my business domain email for major things such as attorney emails, but I have largely quit giving out my gmail address for anything except just total junk mail. In essence, you shouldn’t use your gmail address for anything that you wouldn’t be okay just posting on a public message board.

I know many people reading this will have the thought that you can’t possibly afford to, or know how to move off of gmail.

Well, I will give you a few steps to a simple alternative. I have been using FastMail now for about a year. Their email service is fast, always available, and very responsive. They include a built in function to import your previous email from gmail to FastMail. You can even configure FastMail to keep checking and pulling email from Google’s servers. You can even send using your Gmail address. Obviously, you want to start moving away from that gmail address; but, we all know that will take time.

Fastmail has assurances on their website that their team is entirely Austraila based, and intends to fight any NSA national security letters. They advise that Australia has no parallel to the National Security Letter. Any mass collection in Australia will have to go through the public courts there. There is no U.S. citizen with admin access to their servers.

The basic steps to migrate are as follows:

  1. Buy your own domain. ( GoDaddy is a cheap way to do it.)
  2. Buy a FastMail Account.
  3. Point your DNS at FastMail
    a. If all you doing is using the domain for email, just point your nameserver records at FastMail. They can handle the rest of the DNS then.
    b. If you are hosting a website somewhere else with the domain, then you will have to enter the MX and SPF TXT records.
  4. Migrate your old emails over using FastMails import tool.
  5. After the import finishes, set FastMail to check your old address.
  6. Start using and enjoying you own email that you own.
  7. If you ever decide to use a service other than FastMail, since you own the domain, you just point that domain’s email to end up somewhere else.

I hope this points someone in the direction of getting a little privacy back in their life. The even better system is to have your own server hosting all you email, currently a great server side software application for the average person just doesn’t exist yet. I am watching the Dark Mail project and MailPile. One of them may be the even better answer in time. And no I don’t want to hear about, if you don’t have anything to hide. If that is your position, just make a public bulletin board your email service, and tell people to post there to contact you.

Learn more about me on my website DataTriangle, or say Hi next time you are in the Nashville, TN area.

Note I am not affiliated, and make no money from FastMail. They are just an alternative I know and personally use.

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Phone: (615) 208-6565 1633 W. Main St, Suite 902, Lebanon, TN