Want Truly Anonymous Mail?

from the all-you-have-to-do-is-give-up-privacy dept

Anonymity and privacy are two separate things. While they often go hand in hand, there are times when they can be separated. I have to admit, I really like the idea Bob Cringely is describing in his latest column of an anonymous email system that has been put in place called Mailinator. Whenever you're asked to enter in a "valid" email address for something, where you don't want to give out any info but do need to get a "response" email, you just enter in any thing @mailinator.com and it will work. You don't have to sign up with Mailinator. You don't have to worry if someone already has that email address. So, how do you retrieve the email? You just go and check it. There are no passwords. In other words, it's anonymous - no one knows who you are. But it's not private. Anyone can check your email - if they know what email address you used. There's a little bit of privacy through obscurity, but probably not much. So, more common "addresses" might have mail coming in for multiple people, but everyone can go in and find their email. Cringely also suggests that someone will create a search engine for the system that will run through all the email accounts, but I'm not sure why that's worthwhile.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Chris, Aug 22nd, 2003 @ 1:04pm

    No Subject Given

    I've used Mailinator to get to some article that required registration. It's a brilliantly simple idea, well executed. No revenue model though, other than as PR for the firm that developed it. I believe it deletes emails after 24 hours.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    identicon
    Munich, Aug 22nd, 2003 @ 3:02pm

    C00L

    Hey, I like this idea. Especially for political blogs, in which exchanges can get downright nasty.

    I don't care about giving out one of my free emails on THIS site since Mike and 99% of the posters I have read seem like a nice bunch - and technology/society discussions haven't led to wars in the past like political views have.

    (I must have WAY too much time on my hands to be posting on so many blogs)

    :-)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    Con Tendem, Aug 22nd, 2003 @ 6:19pm

    Re: C00L

    I think the common issue is that spammers harvest email addresses whether Mike likes it or not.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    identicon
    Ling, Aug 23rd, 2003 @ 10:00am

    Maybe a better idea

    If you think this is good you should check out:
    http://www.sneakemail.com
    You can create a disposable email address that will forward to your account. Then when you are done with it, you just whack it. I use it a couple of times a year for the past few years. It works like a champ. I complete nearly all registrations with unknown or known to spam/pass your name around-type companies by using sneakemail.
    I don't work for them and am not even a paying customer. Just a satisfied user. Cheers.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    identicon
    anonman, Aug 23rd, 2003 @ 12:11pm

    Anonymous email

    This is just a blackboard system - nothing new to see here so move along quietly, and certainly nothing to rave about as new or even interesting.

    Genuinely anonymous email is *very* hard to achieve, in fact almost impossible - this is one of my research areas, so I do know about this. There are many ways that people who really want to can get your identity - none of the systems in use on the net today block of all of them. There are theoretical ways to send genuinely anonymous email but they require services that are not currently provided anywhere.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    icon
    Mike (profile), Aug 23rd, 2003 @ 1:58pm

    Re: Maybe a better idea

    If you think this is good you should check out:
    http://www.sneakemail.com


    Actually, I've used Sneakemail (and similar services) quite a bit. The guy who created it reads (or at least, read) Techdirt.

    However, this is different, because you don't need to sign up or set it up, you just come up with the email address. I think that's better in some ways.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    icon
    Mike (profile), Aug 23rd, 2003 @ 1:59pm

    Re: Anonymous email

    This is just a blackboard system - nothing new to see here so move along quietly, and certainly nothing to rave about as new or even interesting.

    Ah, but it's not just a blackboard system. Because, it's email-to-blackboard, and that makes all the difference.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 24th, 2003 @ 6:37pm

    encapuslate the privacy part....

    just throw PGP into the mix and... bingo! You've got the privacy you need + anonymity.

    My personal method for achiving anonymity these days has been through the use of unsecured wireless access points.

    This service makes a nice addition...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    identicon
    zddf, Aug 28th, 2003 @ 10:34pm

    sdf

    sdfasfasf

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    identicon
    ewrtwet, Aug 28th, 2003 @ 10:38pm

    ewrtgwe

    sdfasfasfsdrgsdgsdg

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    identicon
    esperanza.izquierdo@penske.com, Aug 28th, 2006 @ 1:00pm

    test

    cowdc

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
A word from our sponsors...
Essential Reading
Techdirt Reading List
Techdirt Insider Chat
A word from our sponsors...
Recent Stories
A word from our sponsors...

Close

Email This