India Considers Blocking Proton Mail After Bomb Threats


Proton, the Swiss privacy-focused software maker, has received a notice of a “possible block” of Proton Mail in India after the service was used to send bomb threats to schools in the Southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu.

Key Takeaway

India is considering blocking access to Proton Mail following the use of the service to send bomb threats to schools in Tamil Nadu. Proton has criticized the potential block, emphasizing its ineffectiveness in preventing cybercriminals from using alternative email services.

Concerns Over Potential Block

In a statement to the Indian daily Hindustan Times, a Proton spokesperson condemned the “potential block as a misguided measure that only serves to harm ordinary people.” The spokesperson emphasized that blocking access to Proton is an ineffective and inappropriate response to the reported threats. It was noted that such a measure would not prevent cybercriminals from using another email service and would be ineffective if the perpetrators are located outside of India.

According to Hindustan Times, the Indian IT Ministry issued a notice to local internet service providers to block Proton Mail at the request of the Tamil Nadu police. The police reported that at least 13 private schools in Chennai had received the hoax bomb threat.

Challenges in Tracing Suspects

D Ashok Kumar, a senior cyber crime wing police officer in Tamil Nadu, stated that he had requested the IT Ministry to block access to Proton Mail. He highlighted the challenges faced in obtaining information about the suspects, citing the end-to-end encryption of Proton Mail as a barrier to accessing crucial details such as IP addresses and mobile numbers.

Reactions and Advocacy

Lawmakers and privacy advocacy groups have expressed concerns over the potential block of Proton Mail in India. Saket Gokhale, a member of India’s upper house Rajya Sabha, voiced apprehensions about the impact on sources and whistleblowers who use Proton Mail to communicate with reporters, emphasizing the importance of privacy protection.

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