Ok, so I've been thinking... Since email is such an important aspect of our digital lives, why do we (people in general) keep using "free" providers like Gmail? What if Google locks you out of your account? What if your provider decides to harvest your data? Come on, we can do better than this. We can choose more ethical providers or, if possible, self host our email.

@michal Answer is very simple - laziness. People don't want to put time and effort into finding good email provider (or even self host). "Gmail is already on my phone, so why bother?" - that's unfortunately how most of people think.
They are not aware of personal data harvesting that is happening behind the scenes and/or consequences of it.

@przecietnylinuksiarz @michal Simple answers is laziness. People are smart and people manage risks. Locking out from the account is minuscule risk. Profiling our mails/harvesting our data for regular folks is also insignificant inconvenience for a incredibly reliable and gratis service. Self hosting and paid providers have risks too‑some of them are the same.

PS I selfhost my email, I use alternative providers, and I have gmail too.

@kmic @przecietnylinuksiarz well said. To be completely honest, I also have a Gmail account, I just don't use it actively anymore.

@michal @kmic @przecietnylinuksiarz also other people don't know about alternatives and risks are coming from "free" mail providers

@midline @michal @przecietnylinuksiarz I’m not sure what you had in mind by the last part so I could misinterpret it but paid providers can sell and profile our data too, even Posteo can be forced to harvest for BND or quietly sell metadata to B2B (the risk is smaller of course).

Self‑hosted solutions have critical security risks ’cuz almost no one can properly maintain secure mail stack all the time. It’s a huge time sink.

Mail providers driven by cooperatives could be a sweet stop because they could have optimal ratio between technical capabilities and oversight from the users.

Gmail as major operator has unique risk of *mass* profiling and having too big impact on the rest of the system. That’s true for sure but those are not risks affecting users on personal level.

Proton/Tuta have free tiers but are walled gardens, they can harvest metadata but cannot look inside emails. So are gratis but cannot profile content (if encrypted). They rely on trust so risk of harvesting is low.

So knowing how complicated risk space is no wonder folks choose path of least resistance. As individuals risk of personal harm from Gmail is minimal in exchange we have rock solid email address.
Personally I don’t like that but I’m not surprised by people choosing it instead of paying 5$ every month.

There is also a different path: we could provide e‑mail for every PESEL as digital infrastructure of our country. That’s unique solution with unique risks too but for me it’s clear that country should maintain digital infrastructure for its citizens (with strong oversight on data collection).

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