Encrypted email, chat and storage service GhostMail will no longer provide its services to individual users. Instead, it will concentrate on the enterprise market.
In an email sent to users and note prominently displayed on its website’s web page, the company explained that “the world has changed for the worse” and that they “do not want to take the risk of supplying our extremely secure service to the wrong people.”
“In general, we believe strongly in the right to privacy, but we have taken a strategic decision to only supply our platform and services to the enterprise segment,” the GhostMail Team noted. “We hope you understand this decision and we refer to other free services available, as an alternative to our platform i.e. ProtonMail.”
The change is scheduled to take effect on September 1, 2016, and users are advised to prepare for it. PRO users will get a refund.
About GhostMail, and the possible reasons for this change
Switzerland-based GhostMail was created in 2013, in the wake of Edward Snowden’s revelations about data surveillance efforts by the US and the UK.
According to its website’s FAQ section, all emails that land on their servers are stored fully encrypted in Switzerland. What’s not on their servers: plain passwords or encryption keys.
In short, the company can’t read any of the stored emails, and won’t disclose information to third parties. And this is why they can’t distinguish between “bad” users and those that have no malicious intentions.
GhostMail’s decision to concentrate on enterprise users could have been partly motivated by the repeated reports that terrorists are using encrypted communication channels to plan attacks, but also by the fact that some ransomware peddlers and cyber extortionist occasionally use the service to communicate with their victims.
Whatever the case, the team decided it has had enough, and passed the (fire)ball to other secure email services. They’ve mentioned ProtonMail, but other alternatives have been debated on this Reddit thread.