How to send anonymous emails

Some years ago, the sharing
economy seemed to have taken over. Privacy was gone, and no one cared. But that
was until revelations about government’s espionage came to light. Today, with
many people still sharing, some are becoming increasingly cautious.

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For
some of us, the need to go truly anonymous is more important than ever. So, what
do you do if you want to set up an email address that is completely secret and
nameless, with no obvious connection to you whatsoever? This goes beyond just
encrypting messages. Anyone can do that with a Web-based email like Gmail by
using a browser extension like Secure Mail by Streak.
For desktop email clients, GnuPG (Privacy
Guard) or EnigMail is
a must.
Here
are the services you should use to create that truly nameless, unidentifiable
email address. But be sure to use your powers for good.

First
Step: Browse Anonymously
Your
Web browser is tracking you. It’s that simple. Cookies, and now these unstoppable “super
cookies” know
where you’ve been and what you’ve done and they’re willing to share. Sure, it
is mostly about making sure you see targeted ads, but that’s not much consolation
for those looking to surf privately.
If
you want to browse the Web anonymously (and use that private time to set up an
email), you need the Tor Browser, a
security-laden, Mozilla-based browser from the Tor Project. If you don’t know
about Tor, it’s what used to be called The Onion Router, and it’s all about
keeping you anonymous by making all the traffic you send on the Internet jump
through so many servers, people on the other end can’t begin to know where you
really are. It’ll take longer to load a website than it would with Firefox or
Chrome, but that’s the price of vigilance.
The
Tor Browser is available in 15 languages, for Windows, Mac OS, and Linux. It’s
self-contained and portable, meaning it’ll run off a USB flash drive if you
don’t want to install it directly. And it’s totally free. Even Facebook has a Tor-secure address to protect the
location of users—and let users get access in places where the social network
is illegal or blocked. Like China.
Don’t
get the impression that Tor is utterly perfect and will keep you 1,000 percent
anonymous. Last year, the criminals behind the Silk Road, among others, tried
that and failed.
But it’s a lot more secure than openly surfing. to get those bad guys.

Anonymous
Email
You
can set up a relatively anonymous Gmail account, you just have to lie like a
bathroom rug. That means creating a full Google account, but not providing
Google your real name, your real location, your real birthday, or anything else
they can use when you sign up (while using the Tor Browser, naturally).
You
will eventually have to provide Google some other identifying method of
contact, such as a third-party email address or a phone number. With a phone,
you could use a burner/temp number; use an app like Hushed or Burner or buy a pre-paid cell phone and
lie through your teeth when asked for any personal info. (Just know that even the most “secure” burner has its
limits when
it comes to keeping you truly anonymous.)
As
for that third-party email, there are anonymous email services you can
use, so why use Gmail at all? The Electronic Frontier
Foundation (EFF)
says it’s smart to use a different email provider from your personal account if
you crave anonymity—that way you’re less likely to get complacent and make a
compromising mistake.
Note
that you also should use an email service that supports secure sockets layer,
or SSL, encryption. That’s the basic encryption used on a Web connection to
prevent casual snooping, like when you’re shopping at Amazon. You’ll know it’s
encrypted when you see HTTPS in the URL, instead of just HTTP. Or a
lock symbol shows up on the address bar or status bar. The big three webmail
providers (Gmail, Yahoo Mail, and Outlook.com) all support HTTPS. Get the HTTPS Everywhere extension for
Firefox, Chrome, Opera, and on Android, to ensure that websites default to
using the protocol.
That’s
great for Web surfing, but HTTPS isn’t enough when emailing. You know that.
Pseudonyms
in email (like [email protected]) definitely aren’t enough, either. Just one
log-in without using Tor means your real IP address is going to get
recorded…and that’s enough for you to be found (if the finder can get your
provider to give up some records). That’s how General Petraeus got nailed.
The
point is, once you’ve gone this far, there’s no reason go back. Use a truly
anonymous Web-based mail service to send your messages. Here’s some of the
best.
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