Send in your ideas. Deadline June 1, 2024
Theme fund: NGI0 PET
Start: 2019-10
End: 2022-10
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Services + Applications

Thunderbird - native EteSync integration

Add encrypted sync to Thunderbird

EteSync is a secure, end-to-end encrypted and privacy respecting sync solution for contacts, calendars and tasks. It protects user data by encrypting it and decrypting it on the end user device, meaning that the user does not have to trust the service provider. Etesync is being developed with support of NGI Zero. This project is adding native sync support for EteSync to the popular Thunderbird mail client (via the existing TbSync which is about to be integrated into Thunderbird) in order to drastically lower the entry threshold. This will allow even non skilled users to fully protect their data with end-to-end encryption. Setup will just involve (auto-)installing an add-on and entering credentials, and selecting which resources should be synchronized.

Why does this actually matter to end users?

People and organisations use both free and paid online services to manage their private address books, calendars and tasks. These services allow them to back up their data and share the same information across different devices - so they can add an appointment or new contact while they are on the mobile phone at the train station, or on the couch at home, and it magically emerges on their desktop calendar. Other tools allow our loved ones to know where we are at any given moment in time. Given how personal and confidential such information is, use of these convenient services can make users vulnerable to all kinds of abuse.

That risk is not necessary. Service providers can perform the core services (sharing and backup) just as well without any knowledge about user data. Given how normal encryption has become elsewhere on the internet, for instance in instant messaging, it is high time that we start applying it to the information we store about the people we meet, the places we go and the things we do. The overarching goal of the open source EteSync project is to enable users to end-to-end encrypt all of their information, and the expected outcome of this project is to make EteSync available for users of the popular open source email client Thunderbird - thus making it possible for many more users to switch off the unprotected storage and regain their privacy. The new extension will support integrated sync for contacts, calendars and tasks. This allows users to safely store their private data without having to be a computer science wizard.

Logo NLnet: abstract logo of four people seen from above Logo NGI Zero: letterlogo shaped like a tag

This project was funded through the NGI0 PET Fund, a fund established by NLnet with financial support from the European Commission's Next Generation Internet programme, under the aegis of DG Communications Networks, Content and Technology under grant agreement No 825310.

This project is archived. Due to circumstances, the project as planned did not take place. This page is left as a placeholder, for transparency reasons and to perhaps inspire others to take up this work.