Mailpile Aims for Pro-Privacy, Encrypted Emails for Everyone

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Mailpile Aims for Pro-Privacy, Encrypted Emails for Everyone


Source: Mailpile

Mailpile is an Icelandic start-up born in 2013 which has successfully raised USD$163,192 in community funds from 3,639 people on their Indiegogo campaign. A privacy-based email client making an effort to reclaim private communication on the Internet, it is written by a small team of open source veterans and privacy advocates based in Reykjavík.



  • Mailpile is not an email service. It is a webmail client (like Thunderbird or Outlook but in your browser), so you will still need an email address to route it through via POP or IMAP.
  • Easy way to encrypt your e-mail using built-in encryption, with support for OpenPGP and S/MIME encryption and signatures.
  • Built from the ground up specifically with privacy and encryption integration in mind, this Mail User Agent allows users to transparently send encrypted emails without having to go through much of the un-user friendly complexity normally required to send and receive encrypted mail in a hybrid desktop/in-browser approach.
  • It is an email client in your browser that looks and feels like Gmail without the hassle of plug-ins or complex settings to get encryption working as it is ready by default.
  • It is free, no-ads software (a.k.a. open source) whereby users can even modify it to make it better suit their particular needs. Users are in control of the encryption keys and stored emails.
  • Mailpile’s creators note that a user’s local Mailpile can be made accessible over the Internet by using port forwarding or a tunneling service like PageKite.


The birth of Mailpile

Ever since the wake of Edward Snowden’s leaks confirming what many had long suspected that our emails are troves for cybercriminals or government organisations (such as NSA) to invade our privacy, the idea of Mailpile was born with its developers passionately fighting to provide a modern, fast web-mail client with user-friendly encryption and privacy features. Mailpile’s project really took off and gained widespread support after the Lavabit case, whereby the Texas-based secure email provider was forced into shutting down its operations after refusing to comply to a secret order from a federal judge in Virginia demanding that they hand over their private SSL key to enable authorities to access Edward Snowden’s email, along with 400,000 other emails belonging to Lavabit’s other users (Lavabit had only a single private SSL key).

“I would _strongly_ recommend against anyone trusting their private data to a company with physical ties to the United States.”– Ladar Levison, Lavabit owner, warns cryptically on the company’s front page.


Vitals of Mailpile’s current release

Although the Mailpile team of developers would like to advise that Mailpile 1.0 is still in development and is not suitable for production or end-user use, however developers and early adopters are encouraged to give its Beta III version a try and even help them find bugs, fix them or develop new features.

mailpile screenshot1

mailpile screenshot2

Source of screenshots: Tech Crunch

This release’s code name is “What You See Is What You Get (WYSIWYG)”. The main focus of this release is simplicity and stability.


Current release: Beta III version

Next Milestone: 1.0

License: AGPLv3

Code: Python, JS, HTML5


Highlights of the latest release include:

  • A powerful e-mail client capable of reading, writing, organizing and searching large volumes of e-mail.
  • An attractive, intuitive web-based user interface.
  • Support for multiple accounts and multiple PGP keys.
  • Streamlined PGP key discovery.
  • Native Windows and Mac packages.
  • Native support for downloading mail using the IMAP and POP3 protocols.
  • Published a Security Roadmap, explaining the how, why and when of Mailpile security.

Download Mailpile’s Beta III.


Excited for Mailpile?

Mailpile still remains independent and continues not being funded by the US government, or any government. It still remains crowd-funded by the passionate community who believe the world needs a better free software webmail solution.

If you would like to see this project go further, you can donate to this project, or if you are feeling ambitious, check out Mailpile’s codes and send them a patch or a bug report. Otherwise, feel free to simply share this campaign if you are excited for Mailpile to turn into a reality, or give the software a try when it is ready!



[1] Privacy Pulp

[2] Ars Technica

[3] Tech Crunch

[4] Tech Crunch

[5] Indiegogo

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