I am a current user of gmail, and have recently become interested in the privacy policies of the large webmail providers like gmail, yahoo, hotmail etc. I understand that it is commonplace for them to use automated scanning to read emails, and this is something that I personally disagree with. Rather than rant about it, I just want to change from gmail to a company which does not use such automated scanning, but I find it incredibly difficult to get a straight answer about which companies completely leave your emails alone. I find it surprising that it is difficult to find an email provider who openly uses such 'privacy' issues as a USP. I am even willing to pay for a service that completely respects my privacy, yet no companies seem to be catering for this market. Am I wrong? I would expect some providers to advertise something like "we will not read or scan your emails" in big letters on the front page.

So my question is this: can anyone state an email provider (preferably with a webmail interface, but just IMAP is also fine) which does not scan/read your emails and emails sent to you. And could you provide a link or quote pointing to the privacy policy or marketing of the company which backs this up please? Even better, can you provide a link to a reputable website that maintains a list of services that do not use scanning of personal emails.

closed as not constructive by Gilles, Rory Alsop Apr 12 '13 at 10:31

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  • did you check well.com ? I know in the fall 2012, the original founders and some group of affluent users took the domain and its operations back from salon.com group, but I am not sure about their new email policies. It is not free for sure and it is one of the most reputable email addresses one can have. give it a try. (membership page says $100/yr fee as an FYI) – MelBurslan Apr 12 '13 at 9:14
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    This is an argumentative shopping question. In short, e-mail is NOT secure in any way and can be read en route, on the servers where it is stored, or stolen from the computers of one of the parties to the exchange. If you want secure, private communications not subject to side channel attacks, e-mail is emphatically not the technology here. May the Force be with you. – Deer Hunter Apr 12 '13 at 9:18
  • Ok fair enough, I thought it was borderline when I was writing it, but thought it was ok as I am asking a question where the answers can be backed up by a link to a policy. Just to clarify, I am not asking for my emails to be completely secure in that sense, just a company that seems to has the correct philosophy and attitude, reflected in their actions and policies. – Matt Hyde Apr 12 '13 at 9:26
  • Matt, companies exist to make money. Any other philosophy ("Our mission", "Our values") which is shown on their web sites is mostly <censored>. Your question asks us to evaluate for you a bunch of unknown companies with underpaid employees, greedy managers and shareholders - a bit of a tall order, I reckon. – Deer Hunter Apr 12 '13 at 9:31
  • No, I was just wondering if anyone knew of a company that had such a policy. This is turning into the kind of discussion that isn't appropriate for the site, and it seems the consensus is that the question is not appropriate, so I will remove it when I can. Thank you all for taking the time to reply. – Matt Hyde Apr 12 '13 at 9:46

I believe that your quest will end in disappointment. Almost all email providers automatically scan the emails for many reasons including spam detection, malicious attachment detection, phishing links detection, and providing targeted ads.

Now, even if you were lucky enough to find one a provider that doesn't do that, your emails are still gonna be automatically scanned:

  • The emails you send will be scanned by the recipient's provider.
  • The emails your receive will be scanned by the sender's provider.

This is an endless quest. A circle in which you'll keep going on and on. I'll give you a way out:

Accept that you're 1 in 7 billion human beings, your emails are nothing, a mere drop in a sea of words and information. No one is interested in your emails. What scans your emails is an algorithm, it doesn't feel anything when it reads your emails, it doesn't judge you. Let it go.

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