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robotfindskoan >

Steal This Idea: A solution in search of a problem, the OveractiveWeb's answer to the LazyWeb. I thought of a way to make this useful, but Spamgourmet does the same thing in a more intuitive way, so that's out the window. The only thing this idea has on Spamgourmet is that Spamgourmet keeps your real address on file and this putative service wouldn't. So what is it good for? Absolutely nothing?

Idea follows. Compute a one-way hash of your email address. For instance, "8zhkqqkZ.A9tg" is a crypted version of "leonardr@segfault.org". "b83aaa5e5c8129987c8c54f2974e84d3" is the MD5 sum of "leonardr@segfault.org". You get the picture. Then give out "b83aaa5e5c8129987c8c54f2974e84d3-whatever@mysecretemail.com" to someone from whom you want to hide your true email address. When you want to see if they sent you mail, go to mysecretemail.com and say "Hey, I'm leonardr@segfault.org". mysecretemail.com thinks "Oh, that's good old b83aaa5e5c8129987c8c54f2974e84d3.*@mysecretemail.com," and forwards you all the accumulated mail.

It's cool and secret-agent-ish, but like I said I can't think of a real use for it. Also you could break it if you had a way of generating a specific hash collision, which you kind of do.

PS: more useful, less cool variant: leonardr-at-segfault.org-whatever@mymyriademails.com. This lets you get get infinitely many forwarding accounts for one email address.

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