The Swiss email service provider ProtonMail has threatened on Twitter to suspend YouWillNotReplaceUs@ProtonMail.com, the email address that appeared on signs found this week in Durham and Chapel Hill inciting violence against local Antifa members.
Antifa is short for “anti-fascism” and is an umbrella term for people who describe themselves as taking direct action against fascism, including violence.
“Hospitalize your local Antifa scumbag,” the black and white signs say, and they depict three figures holding what appear to be weapons. Posts to social media have reported the signs around Durham and Chapel Hill.
Durham City Council member Charlie Reece tweeted a photo of one of the anti-Antifa signs on Aug. 22.
ProtonMail provides encrypted emails to its users. The company cannot decrypt its users’ data, so it cannot hand over information to third parties, according to its website.
“No, we can’t read email contents,” ProtonMail explained to Twitter users who engaged with Reece’s tweet. “If we receive an abuse report of illegal activity, we may suspend the account based off the evidence.”
“We may also terminate accounts which are being used for illegal activity, in particular in response to court orders from the competent authorities informing us of such illegal activity,” ProtonMail’s terms and conditions say.
The signs were spotted hours before the protest at the Silent Sam statue at UNC-Chapel Hill on Tuesday and just a few days after a protest in Durham.