By Charles Miller
This week I want to introduce readers to a newly-available service called “Email Protection” from the folks at DuckDuckGo, the Internet privacy company that empowers you to seamlessly take control of your personal information online, without any tradeoffs. This email protection is something I do not need personally, but the rest of you should take a look at it. More about me later.
This new email protection service is free and provides you an email forwarding system which strips out advertising and tracking scripts from your emails before delivering your messages to you. You will also get a short report listing how many trackers were removed, and which companies were trying to track you. If you believe you do not need this service, just be aware that some sources say that more than 80 percent of all emails contain benign tracking scripts or dangerous malicious ones.
Point your browser to the web site duckduckgo.com/email/ then follow the instructions. You will be asked to make up an email address that someone else has not already claimed as theirs. If your email is email@example.com then you could make up the address 22janedoe in the domain @duck.com. Now, the next time you are asked to give your email address to some perhaps-untrusted site online, tell them your email is firstname.lastname@example.org. When anyone uses that address, you will receive a cleaned-up copy forwarded to your regular inbox for email@example.com.
The address firstname.lastname@example.org is disposable. If you suddenly start receiving dozens of spam emails sent to that address, just cancel the disposable address and all the spam emails go away. You can then create another disposable address such as email@example.com. You are allowed to create an unlimited number of disposable email addresses, limited only by having to choose a name someone else is not using.
There are some compelling reasons that argue in favor of using unique email addresses in some situations. If you made up one of these disposable email addresses and used it only for First National Bank, not only would you know if the bank sold your information, but if the bank was ever hacked. What the hackers would get is an address you had never used elsewhere. A unique email address would be dramatically less useful to hackers when trying to steal your identity.
So why do I not need this Email Protection feature? Because for years I have been using a paid commercial service that has provided this to me. Whenever I do not want someone to have my real email address I give them a disposable one such as JunkMail2022@smaguru.com. It should be an obvious waste of time to send spam to that address, but some unscrupulous vendors still sell that address to spammers obliging me to cancel that address and create another. The new Email Protection feature provided by DuckDuckGo means that you may now safeguard your email address as I do, and do so for free.
Charles Miller is a freelance computer consultant, a frequent visitor to San Miguel since 1981 and now practically a full-time resident. He may be contacted at 415 101 8528, or email FAQ8@SMAguru.com.