Proton wants to make privacy online easier for everyone

Proton employees in office
(Image credit: Proton)

Since its inception in 2014, Proton has been steadily making a name for itself as a software company with an almost fanatical focus on privacy. Proton Mail in particular is popular the world over with high profile figures, from journalists to government officials, who want to ensure their sensitive communications remain encrypted end-to-end.

But its other offerings, such as its VPN, cloud storage and password manager are also gaining traction in the privacy space.

Now, Proton is set on popularizing its products even further by making them more appealing to a wider range of consumers and businesses, while staying true to its motto: privacy by default.

Proton Mail

David Dudok de Wit, Head of Growth at Proton Mail, believes that the demand for privacy tools will only continue to rise:

"Our bet is that we’ll continue to see the trend towards more and more people becoming disillusioned by Big Tech’s data collection practices, and choosing private alternatives."

However, one aspect that has always hampered privacy-focused software is ease of use. Dudok de Wit echoes this sentiment:

"To make this choice a no-brainer, we work as hard to make using privacy-first email seamless, modern and familiar, with all the features you’d expect from an email service, and more."

To this end, Dudok de Wit claims that Proton's “aim is not just to meet, but go beyond other email providers in terms of the functionality that we’re offering to our customers. From a desktop app... to new security features such as integrated email aliases that protect users’ real email addresses and their online identity, we are continuing to put our users’ privacy and security first."

More features and improvements are also set to come to Proton Mail in future, as Dudok de Wit explains: “this year we are also working on new ways to make the Proton Mail encrypted email experience easier for the millions of Proton Mail users... from improving Proton Calendar, to a more productive and easier to use Proton Mail, there's a huge amount of work going on behind the scenes.”

Proton Drive and Pass

Proton employees in office

(Image credit: Proton)

But Proton Mail isn't the only product the Swiss firm is keen on improving. Proton Drive, the company's cloud storage solution, is also getting the upgrade treatment. The service's Product Lead, Anant Vijay Singh, says:

"It’s a big year for Proton Drive as we look to increase the functionality of the product across multiple platforms... we’ve now launched across all major platforms, and... we’ve recently launched a Photo backup functionality in Proton Drive on Android, and this will be coming to iOS soon."

He adds, "not only this, but we plan to make the user experience on Proton Drive more seamless, enabling people to better organize and share, as well as preview and interact with their files on Proton Drive."

Launched in July last year, Proton Pass is already getting enhancements. Product Lead Son Nguyen Kim explains that "it’s been a whirlwind of new features and functionality" since then, including the subsequent launch of Proton Pass for Business, which landed in February.

One of the key features of Proton Pass besides mere credential management is email aliasing, which allows users to keep their real email address concealed from third parties, in an effort to protect privacy and prevent users from receiving spam and scam emails in their inbox. (Recently, this feature was also added to Proton Mail).

As to why this is a key feature for Proton, Kim explains that "your email address is more than a communications tool, it is actually your digital passport that identifies who you are online. Protecting this digital identity is something that sits at the heart of Proton Pass’s mission."

Looking ahead, Kim says "giving people more control over the security of their account online and proactively protecting people’s identities is something that we are working on releasing soon."

Proton VPN

Proton employees in office

(Image credit: Proton)

Alongside privacy, tackling censorship and democratizing the internet are also core values for Proton. The company claims that its VPN service is key in these regards. Head of Product, Antonio Cesarano, explains that one of the key areas of improvement to come for the service is performance:

“At Proton VPN, we’re always working on improving performance and browsing experience, while maximizing privacy and security online. From adding new servers, improving speeds and apps’ usability, to providing the smoothest experience while being online, be it browsing, gaming, or streaming, this is a continued focus for this year."

"We are now supporting 85 countries across the globe and almost 4000 servers. We are also looking to improve the user experience of the Proton VPN app, increase support for smart TVs, as well as research and development into protecting VPN encryption in a post-quantum world."

As for its goal to make the internet as accessible as possible, Cesarano explains what the firm is doing to meet this:

“We have just launched an elections support initiative, providing free servers to countries that have a history of internet censorship or election tampering, to enable people to access the free and unfiltered internet, communicate, and share the information and news that they have a right to access, free of propaganda."

He adds, "this builds on the success of the Proton VPN Observatory, which tracks VPN usage spikes in correlation to censorship, and has provided us with the intelligence to build the elections support initiative.”


Lewis Maddison
Staff Writer

Lewis Maddison is a Staff Writer at TechRadar Pro. His area of expertise is online security and protection, which includes tools and software such as password managers. 

His coverage also focuses on the usage habits of technology in both personal and professional settings - particularly its relation to social and cultural issues - and revels in uncovering stories that might not otherwise see the light of day.

He has a BA in Philosophy from the University of London, with a year spent studying abroad in the sunny climes of Malta.