ETHICmail is a secure email service that aims at stopping massive and illegal surveillance orders. ETHICmail secures your connection to their servers with SSL Perfect Forward Secrecy, 4096-bit digital certificates and their proprietary SecureStorage AES 192-bit encryption engine for data storage.
One unique ETHICmail feature not found elsewhere is emergency remote full data wipe of your email messages by sending a mobile phone SMS code to your account. ETHICmail also has a specialist legal team that reviews and challenges unfounded surveillance orders, Gmail claims to have that too so I would not call the last feature unique but ETHICmail notifies the individual when they receive a warrant against him whenever it is possible.
ETHICmail email login interface has a banner on top listing a help phone number in Switzerland and displaying how many surveillance warrants have been served to them up to date, divided by interception and data seizure warrants.
Their email interface is clearly a customized cPanel UI, offering you Horde, RoundCube, SquirrelMail and ETHICmail logins, each one with a different layout, if you have used cPanel before you feel comfortable using it. If you wish, you can use your own domain name, it is easy to add, ETHICmail customer panel is based on WHM, a standard administrative web host manager deployed by most hosting companies.
Your emails are kept encrypted with ETHICmail SecureStorage but you have to encrypt messages before sending them out, this is not done by ETHICmail for you like Hushmail or Countermail do, you need to be familiar with PGP encryption and manage the whole process.
ETHICmail headquarters are in the Seychelles, a very privacy friendly jurisdiction, but I found out that part of their staff is is based in Gibaltrar, a territory ruled by British law. Being Britain NSA best buddy and a country where mass surveillance is routinely carried out with full government support, I wasn’t exactly thrilled. I am not sure how it affects legal subpoenas having the distribution centre offices in the United Kingdom.
A disturbing problem with ETHICmail is that the company claims that they only accept 10 type of surveillance orders, ranging from terrorism to copyright infringement. The accepted interception orders cover every single kind of crime, from the most severe to the most minor.
I don’t believe that any email service should help break the law, but when you start accepting surveillance orders for crimes that do not even carry a prison sentence, what is the point of paying extra for a self-proclaimed “legally resistant email service“. Not surprisingly law enforcement has been know to lie, there is no way ETHICmail can know if the copyright infringement really occurred or if it is something made up by a spy agency to get hold of the data.
Positive ETHICmail points are that emails are stored encrypted with your own private key to which the company has no access and they claim to be unable to recover encrypted data, you can wipe your account remotely with an SMS message and there is computer IP control restriction to whitelist account access.
Negative ETHICmail points are having part of their business in British soil, not providing automatic OpenPGP encryption when you send email like some of their competitors do and very expensive prices. ETHICmail legal assistance addon worth thousands of dollars is only affordable to big corporations.
If you are an individual, you can find better price and features in Countermail, Hushmail or AnonymousSpeech. If you are corporation with a huge budget maybe you want to consider ETHICmail but not managing OpenPGP keys would bother me because the average employee does not have a clue about PGP and without it you are open to illegal in transit email wiretapping, another big blunder is that I could not see the interface being mobile device friendly