Since the launch of Tutanota in 2014, our core team – Arne, Matthias, Hanna and Bernd - has remained unchanged for one simple reason: We are passionate about privacy and we love that we can provide a service that brings privacy to millions of people around the world.
Now, we are happy to announce that we have passed the milestone of ten million users.
This great achievement is not only a success for our encrypted email and calendar service Tutanota, it is also great for the security of ten million people: Due to the inbuilt encryption in Tutanota, our users can communicate online confidentially and make sure that their right to privacy is being respected.
This is in stark contrast to Silicon Valley tech giants that use and abuse the users’ data for their own purposes like targeted advertisements. Tutanota users can be sure that their data is not being abused and that not profiles about them is being created.
The first pillar of our success: Our passion for privacy.
Eight years ago Arne, Bernd, Hanna, and Matthias have published Tutanota - the first encrypted email client in the world.
Matthias, Hanna, Bernd and Arne in 2014.
Do you know the saying: It's more fun to be a pirate than to join the navy? In a way that's how we feel at Tutanota.
Of course, we do not break the law. To the contrary, we are freedom fighters passionate about our human right to privacy. While governments as well as large tech companies constantly try to undermine our right to privacy, we work hard to provide an encrypted online eco-system (email, calendar, contacts, and more – watch out for our announcements later this year!) that protects your privacy - and the privacy of the people you communicate with.
This passion for privacy has been our main pillar for success from the start, and remains so to this day.
It comes to our benefit that in recent years the understanding that we all depend on privacy protection has become mainstream. Privacy has turned into an important selling point for lots of online services, not just for us.
But while Big Tech companies just “promise” privacy, we guarantee privacy – and everybody can check that we are fulfilling this promise.
The big plus about Tutanota is that we do not simply promise privacy. With the built-in encryption in Tutanota, we can guarantee that the data of our users is protected and, thus, their privacy can not be infringed.
Since all our email clients are published as open source, everybody can check that the end-to-end (e2e) encryption in Tutanota truly protects all data.
Check here how our encrypted email client looked like in 2014!
The second pillar for our success: Stick to the goals.
Since we have started building Tutanota, we have seen encryption projects come and go. For instance, after the Snowden revelations back in 2013 Google promised to add end-to-end encryption to Gmail. But Gmail's encryption project is long dead, and was probably only a marketing move to begin with. Other encrypted email services, such as Lavaboom had to shut down.
Turning a secure email service into a success is hard because you have to invest a lot of time and effort before the product can come close to non-encrypted services in regards to functionalities.
We believe that we were only able to turn Tutanota into a success because of our passion for privacy - a passion that is shared by our growing community.
Giving up was never an option.
The third pillar for our success: Our focus on security.
As you all know Tutanota encrypts as much data as possible end-to-end. But doing security right goes well beyond encryption.
At Tutanota, we have implemented several steps to secure your data:
Doing security right includes that we adhere to full transparency.
Security and transparency are closely interlinked. Maximum security cannot be achieved without maximum transparency.
An integral part of this is to publish all client code as open source. Only open source enables others to check the code and detect and report potential security issues.
This is extremely important because without open source, it is much more likely that security vulnerabilites are never detected, or only after several years as the example of the Microsoft Exchange hack demonstrates.
Publishing our clients as open source shortly after the first beta release was one of the key factors to our success. The reason for this is obvious: trust.
Security is always a matter of trust. Encrypting all data possible and publishing all client code as open source makes Tutanota a trustworthy service because everyone can check that the data is encrypted and that we have absolutely no access.
Today, ten million of users all over the world are confident that Tutanota will protect their private emails to the maximum.
The fourth pillar of our success: Building an ethical business.
When we first published Tutanota in 2014, we did this shortly after the Snowden leaks and under the impression that end-to-end encryption is mostly needed to defend citizens from eavesdropping of state actors. This is still the case, and we make our voice heard in the ongoing crypto wars to fight for everybody's right to privacy. Together with 45+ organizations we published an open letter on Press Freedom Day reminding politicians that encryption and the right to privacy is needed for all citizens, but particularly for journalists, activists and whistleblowers.
What is worse, since the Snowden leaks another sector has come into focus for privacy enthusiasts; one that has become much more powerful in recent years: AdTech, also called surveillance capitalism.
AdTech refers to companies making money based on user tracking and user profiling. The ultimate goal for these companies is to bombard their users with advertisements to maximize their own profits.
The problem here is that any AdTech service focuses mainly on how they can optimize their system to make more money. Their focus, therefore, is to make the advertisers happy, not the users of their products.
Tutanota is a transparent alternative to AdTech that only needs to satisfy one stakeholder: You.
It is because of AdTech that the saying "If it's free, you are the product" has become well known among internet users. That's why we at Tutanota are often being asked why we offer a free service in the first place. After all, we are the exact opposite of the AdTech business.
One important consideration for us was the fact that Gmail, Outlook, Yahoo and others are free of charge and people are not used to paying for webmail. Our goal is to convince as many people as possible that a better internet is possible, and we can only achieve that by offering a limited free version to everyone.
To incentivize more and more email users to quit Gmail, we offer a free version and, in addition, fair and affordable prices so that everyone is able to leave the AdTech business behind - and protect their private emails from mass surveillance.
That's why we will always offer a free version of Tutanota. After all, it is part of our mission to bring privacy to the world.
Nevertheless, our amazing success to this date depends on our paying users. You enable us to grow our team and improve Tutanota. Together we will make the internet a better, a more private place. Thank you! 😍