In January 2021, eyeo launched Crumbs, our first dedicated privacy-protection product, as a response to recent changes in tracking methods and users’ desire for a more straightforward approach to data handling. This free browser extension puts users in control of their own data and lets them decide what is shared about them online and with whom. Crumbs’ latest feature, Crumbs Email Relay, protects a user’s most vulnerable online identifier, their email address, by replacing it with an automatically-generated alias. In short, an email alias is a forwarding email address which upholds the user’s privacy, while still forwarding messages to the original inbox.
Email relay is the newest armor in online protection
What prompted us to focus on this particular feature? Based on the latest trends and developments in the privacy world, third-party cookies are becoming increasingly obsolete. In this context, email will be the new key for users to access certain content and websites and, at the same time, will become the main targeting method for advertisers. Cookies use cross-site tracking to create a general profile about a user, but an actual email can directly identify a person, which can pose additional security risks for that user.
Therefore, the best solution to protect a user’s online accounts is to hide their primary email address from tracking with an email alias. Using an email alias helps limit less reputable sites from selling users’ identities, which can end up in floods of spam, malware, phishing attempts and even password breaches. Tech giants like Apple and Mozilla have already implemented similar email relay functionality. However, both are limited to their own browsers and products.
Why choose Crumbs Email Relay?
Crumbs Email Relay comes as a free upgrade for all Crumbs extension users and is currently available on the most popular browsers worldwide (Chrome & Firefox).
Browsers on mobile and desktop can partner up with Crumbs to offer their users this functionality (and the entire Crumbs SDK suite of features) at no additional charge. The email relay can easily be activated with the click of a button within the Crumbs’ settings. The personal email is registered, and a user can then select to automatically generate multiple aliases. Crumbs will take care of the rest. This functionality brings forward additional benefits, such as protecting your users’ passwords so they will no longer be associated with their main email in case of a breach, hiding annoying cookie consent pop-ups, or stopping websites from tracking your users.
We can all relate to a scenario like needing to sign in to free, unsecured WiFi from an airport or cafe with a personal email, yet that can leave us crucially vulnerable to hackers and password breaches. Moreover, using an email to access or download content behind a sign-in wall can lead to annoying spam or malicious phishing attempts. Crumbs Email Relay can easily prevent such attacks and protect personal identities by supplying fully-controllable email aliases instead.
Stay tuned for what’s next
Online security and personal privacy are of paramount importance to users. Tracking users’ online activity is here to stay, but how that’s tracked and how much identifiable information is shared can make all the difference. We will continue to develop Crumbs and create new and innovative features for the post-cookie world that focus on user choice and control. With this, we will not only make sure that we are responding to industry trends, but also that we are proactively staying ahead of them. Stay tuned for our next releases: more tools that help users protect their privacy are coming soon.