Web Email Sites Like Yahoo or Hotmail Are NOT Anonymous
I recently saw a message thread where somebody asked how they could set up an anonymous email address that they could use when signing up for sites that they didn’t want to give up any real personal or contact information.
The answer they were given was to sign up for a web email account at a place like Yahoo or Hotmail and that if things ever got dicey they could just stop checking that mailbox.
This kind of tactic will get you only very casual anonymity at best for several reasons.
1) Unless you always connect using TOR, they will have your IP address which, along with the time makes finding you trivial.
2) Most services like this require a primary email address in order to sign up for theirs. It’s both for being able to recover lost passwords and in the event of any legal action involving email you’ve sent with their service they can and will cooperate with courts, lawyers and law enforcement and hand over anything they have on you.
This low level of anonymity is useful as a “throwaway” email address that you can use when signing up for sites that you suspect might spam you or sell your email address. When the spam gets too bad, simply delete the account.
It is however, NOT sufficiently anonymous if you’re involved in anything (good or evil) that’s liable to attract attention from somebody’s lawyer(s) or some flavor of Law enforcement.
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