One practical step towards a more responsible digital life - that you can take in a few minutes - is to use email aliases when registering to services. It will help you to protect your primary email address that you care about, simplify your online presence(no need for multiple throwaway emails), knowing which contacts might have been misusing your data and recognise phishing much easier. we_care

Why should you do this?

Personally, I have been fed up with all the data breaches that happened to my data, including some companies repeatedly losing my data, that has been reported in haveibeenpawned. Also, I am pretty curious about data breaches - see the slides of my talk I gave last year for security managers and auditors, here.

What annoys me even more is the “We care about your privacy” statements after a breach or completely denying responsibility, such as the recent 23and me breach, where hackers stole DNA data of 6.9 million users.

Critical health information must be protected by law, and negligent businesses don’t deserve to operate with permanent biomarkers, period.(DNA, retina/iris scan, fingerprint etc.). These are irreversible breaches that represent a perpetual breach - you can change a password, but you cannot change your DNA.

Now back to the topic. What can we do to avoid our data being leaked? (Besides being hesitant of which businesses we trust)

My habit now, when I register to new (or migrate my email away from my previous email providers) services is to create an email address with Proton Pass like:

<service>.<random word><random number>@<a domain owned by proton>.<top-level domain>

With most other email providers it will look like your email address extended with a plus sign.

This then forwards emails to my real address with Proton:

Dummy email → Barrier → My Private e-mail

Here is the typical process to add an alias with your current email provider:

Settings → Email → Accounts → Aliases → Add an Alias

You can simply DuckDuckGo search the specifics for your email provider


Believe it or not, I used to have well over 30.000 unread emails(to be fair, mostly promotions). My current old mailbox holds 54654 emails, many of them I am only keeping as a “live archive” and contact purposes, because there is no better way to move them to my new provider. But I discontinued to use it for new services. As a comparison, I can manage my current mailbox really well. I don’t see its Unread email numbers getting out of hand at all.


Email is a distraction, just like a notification on your phone. Preventing getting useless mails in the first place is the right way to go.

Create Folders and Rules

The second best way is to organize. Think about it is like a news feed. Any service that sends you regular emails should land in a folder, to keep your Inbox for important contacts clean.

Re-register with dummies

This is the most painful part for sure. I went ahead, logged in to all important services and replaced all the old email addresses, so there remains no record of my prior private address.

Deactivate your old mail

With the previous step I also switched to Proton from my previous email provider. In case you had privacy concerns or were stuck with another provider, this might help. It will take time, but you will get there. In my case, I have over 550 identities so it really is a project, but it’s not that painful to do one at a time.

Block the annoyments

The moment I dislike something, I drop the dummy email, and get rid of unwanted emails(note, these are not really spam - you get them because you gave the email away, and perhaps it was shared further), so I can keep a clean inbox.

As an example - if you are interested in digital marketing for cats, and you sign up for a “free webinar”, download a pdf guide etc. that in the end (without your prior consent) shares your address and suddenly you start receiving sales emails from different companies offering you courses, paid versions of their products etc. Annoying, but now you can simply delete your and forget it ever existed - you can also chose to simply delete the alias right after your goal is achieved, preventing any further communication.

Of course, you could do similar tricks in other email services as well, or create a idontcareabouthisemail@<youremailprovider>.com, but that will become still pretty messy over time. Proton Pass allows me to track all of this very efficiently, link the alias with an identity(assign a unique password with it - more about it in the next blog), and create dummy emails for every single digital service I use.

I will also be informed about all the times providers misbehave, start sharing my email with others, or get breached, and if I am particularly unhappy, I can start rating them in their public profiles(Trustpilot, etc.) saying they didn’t treat my data well and I am now no longer a customer - hopefully driving some accountability.


I have no affiliation to Proton, but am a very happy customer, and as a shameless plug here is my Referral Link, if you are interested in their free trial. Another good news, is the Proton Pass service just got cheaper! Thanks Proton!

Now go, and do yourself a favor!