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DuckDuckGo is launching an email protection service
[Image: duckduckgo-email-protection.png]

Internet search engine DuckDuckGo plans to launch an email protection service in the near future. Designed to relay emails for its users, email protection works similarly to Mozilla's Firefox Relay service.

Basically, what it does is protect user email addresses from third parties similarly to how proxies work. Third parties, sites that users sign up for or applications, see only the service's email address and not the user's actual email address.

DuckDuckGo has designed its service with privacy in mind. The company states that it does not save user emails and that it does not save any information except for the forward email address and the service's duck email address. Additionally, it promises that information will not be used for advertising or any other purpose that is not related to the service that it offers.

DuckDuckGo reveals that it is using its own email infrastructure for the Duck Email Protection service.

Duck address sign-ups require an invite code at the time of writing. When you sign-up, you are asked to create a new Duck address and provide the actual email address that you want the emails to be forwarded to. From then on, you may start using the Duck email address on the Internet and in applications to protect your original email address from the services you sign up for. Trackers will be removed from emails automatically when email protection is used. The technical details of how that is done are unknown at this point.

It is unclear at this point whether users will be able to create multiple email address forwards when the service comes out of beta.

Update: Users of the DuckDuckGo app will have the option to create new email addresses on demand.

DuckDuckGo users may join the waitlist only by downloading the official DuckDuckGo app for iOS or Android. You find the option under Settings > Email Protection (beta).

DuckDuckGo promises that it will support the service long-term.

Closing Words

Email relay services such as Mozilla's Firefox Relay service or Apple's recently introduced feature to hide email addresses are designed to protect a user's email address. Since emails are forwarded through the services of these providers, it is trust that is of utmost importance when it comes to these services.

Whether it is a good idea is up for debate, as other options, such as the creation of temporary email accounts, exist, that serve a similar purpose.

All email content is visible at least in theory, but that is also true for any email that is not encrypted.

Now You: do you use email relay services, or would start to use them?
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