If you read my previous blog post, you’ll note that my company recently launched an Android mobile phone app called 1ncemail. The goal of 1ncemail is to prevent merchants from tracking your purchase while still enabling them to send you your receipt via email. By opening up 1ncemail, you get an email alias that forwards to your regular email but the alias disappears after it is used such that the merchant can’t spam you or sell your email address or more importantly track you across your purchase. This is especially important where the company tracking you might not be an individual merchant but a payment processor (say Square, cough cough).
So fast forward to today where, as an avid user of random password generating security browser plug in LastPass, I had an epiphany. You see LastPass will generate a random string of characters (using constraints you set like upper and lower case, special characters, numbers, etc) to use as your password on a site. LastPass stores the password for you, encrypted with a master password, so you don’t have to remember “O6ff$4dr9#.” Now, I’ve had people suggest to me that 1ncemail provide aliases for use for registering to websites but I rejected it because it didn’t fit the onetime use model of 1ncemail because people need to be able to reset their passwords, get updates, etc. So if you haven’t figured out my epiphany, I’ll spell it out for you:
What if, just imagine if,,,,not only did LastPass provide a unique password (which protects you against security breaches of your password spilling over from one site to the next) but actually also provided a unique email alias. That alias would ONLY be good for that domain and only allow them to send you emails. It wouldn’t prevent tracking of you on their site but it would prevent them from selling your email or providing it to a data aggregator who could cross reference your purchases from one site to another. While you could do this with LastPass now, using mailinator or one of the other random email websites, the process is laborious, akin to generating your own unique passwords. Seemless integration with LastPass would be amazing!
So what do you say LastPass? Want to partner up? Now, I’m under no illusion. The geniuses at LastPass may have already considered this and rejected for some reason I haven’t though of or they could just take my idea and run with it. Nothing patentable about what I’m doing with 1ncemail. However, I’d love to partner up with them or at the least get credit if they decide to implement this idea. I’m just excited to use it.
Oh, and LastPass, please start accepting #bitcoin for premium use.
Update: Looks like my idea was proposed 2 years ago. See https://forums.lastpass.com/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=83723&p=277575&hilit=email+alias I thinking i should just create a browser add-on that supports this feature even if not integrated seamlessly with LastPass.