The ePOST p2p email system, a project of my research group at Rice, is entering an open beta phase. Anyone can sign up; you’ll get a new email address and some software to run on your own computer, which becomes your own personal email server. Messages between ePOST users are encrypted and secure; messages between an ePOST user and the general Internet are just like any other email.
From the ePOST website:
ePOST is based on the Pastry peer-to-peer overlay, which allows ePOST to scale to large numbers of users. Since ePOST uses a peer-to-peer substrate, there are no dedicated email servers – the function of the email server is distributed over all of the machines in the network. However, the same security and reliability guarantees as existing server-based systems are preserved when using ePOST.
ePOST is designed to be backwards-compatible with existing SMTP-based email systems. In fact, ePOST users can even use their normal email clients to send and receive email, as well as send and receive email from non-ePOST users. Each user is given an email address of firstname.lastname@example.org, which can be used in parallel with or in place of their normal email account.