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SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer. It is a special type of ISP service used to encrypt communications between an ISP and a user. This is done not just for privacy, but also ISP safety. Unfortunately not all ISPs support SSL yet, so check with an ISP provider before making any commitments. Keep in mind that while e-mail sent and/or received via SSL will be encrypted for its trip to and/or from the ISP, it will not be encrypted for the remainder of its journey and will thus still be potentially open to snooping. To really protect e-mail one needs something like S/MIME or PGP.