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.

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Comments on “Want Truly Anonymous Mail?”

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Munich says:


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)


Ling says:

Maybe a better idea

If you think this is good you should check out:
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.

Mike (profile) says:

Re: Maybe a better idea

If you think this is good you should check out:

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.

anonman says:

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.

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