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Why it matters: As 2020 begins, it's safe to say 2019 was the year that trust in "Big Tech" plummeted. As that happens, companies like Proton and Mozilla are becoming better positioned as alternatives to Google as consumers yearn for more and better privacy. Well known encrypted email provider ProtonMail is getting a much requested calendar option, giving users another privacy-first alternative.
Just before the New Year, encrypted email provider ProtonMail announced it was launching its encrypted calendar in public beta. Aptly named, ProtonCalendar will initially be available to users with a paid ProtonMail account as part of the ProtonMail 4.0 beta. A basic version of ProtonCalendar will eventually roll out to all ProtonMail users, with paid users receiving added functionality, much the way ProtonMail works.
ProtonCalendar will rely on client-side, end-to-end encryption based on PGP standards to secure data. While Proton claims ProtonCalendar is the first fully encrypted calendar, this isn't entirely true, as Tutanota also has an encrypted calendar option.
ProtonCalendar will serve as an extension of Proton's privacy focused suite of products and services, as the Switzerland-based company already offers email and a VPN service.
Additionally, Proton has further plans that include ProtonDrive, a cloud storage service with cloud software that will challenge Google Drive and its suite of cloud software, like Google Docs.
According to the Proton team, ProtonCalendar will encrypt the event title, description, location, and participants for every event before being stored on Proton's servers, so no third party – including ProtonMail – can access the contents of the calendar. For more information on ProtonCalendar's encryption, they had previously outlined their security model.