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Ethical Email Services

08 Oct, 2021 | 3 min read

So you or a loved one has decided to get a new personal email address. Maybe you want to cut and run from an old one, maybe you just want a new one to separate out different aspects of your life. Maybe you need to recommend one for someone in your life that has never had an email address before. Whatever the reason, you’re a socially conscious individual and the “ethicality”, morality, and sustainability of the provider is important.

This is a short guide to some of the options that you might not be familiar with, that are worth your consideration.

A quick note on the “usual suspects”

As with all things in life, there are trade-offs. Most of the options on this list are not free, and so in that regard they immediately come off worse against the likes of Google and Microsoft, both of which have free personal-use email options. Why is this the case? Well, part of the reason Google can offer you an email address, office suite, and online storage for £0 per month, is because they collect data on your usage and use that to inform the premium products that they sell.

For some people, this is a worthwhile trade-off. It also provides other benefits. Both Google and Microsoft have incredibly sophisticated spam filters, driven in part by the data they collect on their users. This can protect more vulnerable users from scams or other nefarious email attacks. In the case of Google, the added online storage space and access to a suite of office applications makes it a very popular choice for students who can backup their work online, and access it from anywhere. And finally there is the longevity of the companies. Google and Microsoft aren’t going anywhere any time soon, so your data is not likely to be at risk of company liquidation. Even Yahoo, who have gone bust more times than [insert funny comparison of your choice here] still maintains a functioning email service.

But enough about the big players. Who else is out there? Below are three options that tick the boxes of being ethical in the way the company works, ecological in the way they power their systems, and secure in the way they handle your personal data. There are myriad other choices beyond these three - these three are simply, in my opinion, the best mash-up of those criteria.

All-round good eggs: Runbox

Founded in 2000, Runbox is an employee-owned Norwegian company that prides itself on great company culture. Their servers are powered by some of Norway’s plentiful hydro-electricity, and they make great efforts to ensure that their ecological impact is small.

While Runbox primarily offer web hosting services (think GoDaddy competitors), they also offer a dedicated email service. They have strong security and privacy credentials, and have no ads on their services.

In terms of price, their lowest is a £15 a year fee, and for that you get 25Gb of email storage, which is a very decent amount for the average user.

You can find out more about Runbox from their website: https://runbox.com/about/

Personal Privacy: Posteo

German company Posteo is a popular alternative to mainstream email providers. Their main selling point is the anonymity they give to their customers. You won’t get any ads on their webclient, and their spam filters are highly effective. And, of course, the whole operation is run on sustainable power.

Their price point starts at about £1 a month, for which you get 2Gb of space. This isn’t huge, but if you’re frugal about what emails you keep, and don’t store too many attachments, you should be fine.

Find out more here: https://posteo.de/en/site/features

Most extendable: Mailbox

Last but by no means least on the list, is Mailbox.org. Also a German company, their offer is very similar to their country-fellows.

Also anonymous, secure, and eco-friendly, their price point of £1 a month will also get you 2Gb of online space. However, where Mailbox.org might be more attractive is in their expansion options. You will of course have to pay for these, but for the new-to-email, this might be a good jumping off point.

Read more about them here: https://mailbox.org/en/company


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