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.
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