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Somewhat of a privacy/security question here. I'm looking to get away from Google services, especially email, and I'm wondering if there's a reason not to use my real name in the email address. The enemy I'm think of is intrusive government surveillance.

  • If I use an encrypted email service, just going by the handle any State actors won't necessarily know which address is mine, but then again then can just look at the emails coming in before they're encrypted, so that argument doesn't work.
  • Practically any online service that has my email address is going to know my name, so there is really no privacy benefit there either.

Am I perchance missing something?

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  • I think you have to stay off the internet completely to dodge guv'ment surveillance. Or only use wifi hot-spots or something like that. The name of your email address would not help in the slightest. – pcalkins Feb 23 at 23:08
  • @HenryWHHackv3.0a Thank you for suggesting this other post. It's doesn't exactly answer my question however. The other person is talking about using his personal name in his various public profiles while I'm wondering more about just the handle of the email address. – daveslab Feb 24 at 7:53
  • Email metadata isn't always encrypted in transit, and it's unencrypted at endpoints. By all means use an end-to-end encrypted email service if your correspondents also do, or use other end-to-end encrypted protocols with good metadata privacy. Perhaps better questions for email privacy are: (1) why use your name at all if there's privacy risk to doing so? (2) why not use multiple email addresses, as many as practical, to separate your online activities into silos to reduce aggregation? – pseudon Feb 25 at 15:53
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Many contact sites or services use email for communications. While it might not matter in most cases, having your real name as part of the email address may be concerning sometimes, such as:

  • an AIDS Clinic
  • an Abortion Provider
  • a Left/Right wing organization
  • a Car Salesman
  • Others

It may also lead to cyber stalking, as in people finding "John_Smith@whatever" and not differentiating.

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