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Webmail - the good, the bad, and what comes next.

Today, everyone has at least one free webmail account. But free has never been free: Data mining, advertisements, data breaches. It's time to demand change.

2019-06-11
Since its start, webmail has become incredibly popular. Everybody has at least one free webmail account: Gmail, Yahoo, Outlook.com, and GMX are some of the most widely used webmail services. However, as we learn how the web works now, how companies manipulate us, how free services abuse our data, the time has come to demand change - because we deserve it.

Webmail and why it is good - and bad

Webmail is a great tool for communication: Always available, quick and easy webmail login on any device, easy to use, and as everyone has an email address - email, and for most that is webmail, is to date the fastest communication tool. It enables you to reach everyone. Despite the recent popularity rise of chat apps, there is no way around email, and webmail for that matter.

Email statistics

The number of email users worldwide has grown to more than 3.8 billion users and is projected to reach 4.3 billion by the year 2022.

This statistic shows that roughly 281 billion emails were sent and received each day in 2018. This figure is expected to increase to over 347 billion daily emails in 2022.

That's quite a lot, and that's why we need to change email now - because there is a better way.

Email and its tracking problem

According to this statistic the most popular email client in May 2019 is Gmail (29%), followed by Apple iPhone (28%), and Outlook (9%). However the data accumulation for this statistic already shows everything that is wrong with email:

The data gathered has been collected by tracking how many emails have been opened in these clients. This tracking only works when the email loads external images, which some webmail clients do by default.

When external images are loaded automatically in the webmail client, the privacy of the webmail user is violated - most of the time without the email user knowing about this issue. The sender of the email can then learn when this person opened the email, on what client, and from what IP address. A devastating violation of privacy that happens unnoticed in the background.

Email and its profiling problem

Even worse, most free webmail service such as Gmail, Yahoo!, and GMX scan their users data to profile them and to post targeted advertisements. Google even tracks all your online purchases via Gmail.

By using free email services that harvest data, people willingly give away some of the most valuable information about themselves. The devastating part about this is that most people don't know or don't care because they believe their data is worthless. While in fact, the opposite is true.

Data mining has made Google one of the most valuable companies in the world. Because Google knows who you are, what you do, what you want and how advertisers can get you to buy their stuff, they can - and do - use your data to sell adverts.

Quote from Eric schmidt: Google knows everything you do online.

When using webmail services, there is one basic rule: Every webmail service that isn’t selling you something is selling you to someone else.

Email and its security problem

Email accounts are the number one target for email phishing attacks because your entire online identity is linked to your email account. Amazon, PayPal, Twitter, Facebook - all these services use your email address for resetting passwords, which is not only insecure, but it also puts a high priority on keeping your email account safe from hackers.

Yet, data breaches constantly rise in number. Services like GMX even have the option to use "password" as a password - which makes it way to easy for malicious attackers to guess the password of non-tech savvy internet users.

Webmail services need to do much better to adequately protect their users' data.

Free webmail services - what users say

When you look online, you will find more and more people saying that they do not want to use free webmail services anymore because of the way they abuse their data and violate their privacy.

This is what one user explained to us when he switched to Tutanota as his webmail service:

"It started to get annoying when there were no decent usernames available in Gmail. Despite that, I opened an account because everyone was using Gmail. But I didn't give Gmail my phone number as I believe Google should not have such personal information about me. I often access my emails from a public computer, so after a while Google required I put in my phone number to access it. Whatever I tried, there was no way getting back into my Gmail account as I never entered my phone number in the first place."

"So then I decided to open a Microsoft Outlook email account. But the first thing I saw were these disgusting banner ads. So I left. Tutanota is quite the opposite: I get my name as a username, no banner ads, and an absolutely beautiful and functional user interface, plus I can get the Tutanota app from F-Droid. Tutanota is clean, simple, and yet secure and sophisticated."

Email no longer is Gmail.

For many the most popular webmail service is Gmail. But after 15 years of unlimited data mining, it is time to demand from Google to make a change. All webmail services should stop scanning their users' personal emails and start encrypting their data to protect their right to privacy.

Until that happens, you can switch to the secure webmail service Tutanota. Tutanota is fast, easy, and beautiful - and it stores all your data securely encrypted. Try Tutanota's encrypted emails now, and protect yourself from data mining and privacy violations.


Check out what makes Tutanota a Gmail alternative.