Web Creator Tim Berners-Lee Joins ProtonMail Advisory Board

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World Wide Web inventor Tim Berners-Lee has joined the advisory board of hosted email service provider ProtonMail.

In a statement, ProtonMail CEO and Founder Andy Yen said Berners-Lee’s addition to the company’s advisory board is in line with its goal to “create an Internet where people are in control of their information at all times.” .

“Our vision is to build an Internet where privacy is the default by creating an ecosystem of services available to everyone, everywhere, every day,” Yen said.

Yen said the company already had a past relationship with Berners-Lee, explaining that the idea for ProtonMail was originally conceived at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, where the World Wide Web was created.

Berners-Lee’s addition comes almost immediately after ProtonMail received criticism for giving a climate activist’s IP address to French authorities to comply with a Swiss court order.

Addressing IP address logging in a blog post earlier this week, Yen said all businesses must comply with laws, such as court orders, if they operate within 15 miles of land.

“No matter what service you use, unless it’s based 15 miles offshore in international waters, the company will have to comply with the law,” Yen said.

Since the incident, ProtonMail has changed its privacy policy to state that the company may be “legally compelled to register IP addresses in the context of a Swiss criminal investigation”.

Previously, the company’s website stated that by default it does not keep any IP logs that can be linked to an anonymous email account. In making the change, ProtonMail apologized for its previous wording and said it clarified ProtonMail’s obligations.

ProtonMail currently has 50 million users.


Esther L. Gunn