On Monday, Abine announced a new privacy add-on called MaskMe. MaskMe promises to protect your personal information by creating custom aliases that "mask" your log-in information.
"In today's world of big data and NSA surveillance, consumers are realizing that any personal information they give away can be exploited," said Bill Kerrigan, Abine CEO. "The real lesson is to stop giving out your personal data in the first place. That used to be difficult for consumers, who didn't have a choice if they wanted to use online services."
The full service includes masking aliases for all channels of contact, including e-mail, phone numbers, and even credit card numbers. In a sense, it works like a hybrid between KeyPass, and PayPal, giving users the ability to manage their accounts and passwords. You can automatically generate an e-mail alias and dummy password within a form or manually add an account for any Web service. The result is the ability to access all the benefits of Internet services without compromising or really putting your actual personal data at risk.
The basic version includes unlimited disposable e-mails and auto-fill forms so that you don't have to constantly fill out standard Web forms. MaskMe will remember all your account credentials, which you can manage and access from the MaskMe homepage. The premium tier unlocks masked phone numbers and credit cards -- an extra layer of security.
After a few days of use, we found using MaskMe to be surprisingly nondisruptive and quite useful. The beauty of MaskMe is that from a front-end perspective, it feels more like an account management app than a needy security measure. You can control what e-mails from companies get through to your inbox and block any unwanted spam mail from even "well-intentioned" companies if you prefer to just sign up for an account but never want to hear from them again.
Credit card masking is another noteworthy feature: if you opt for the premium service, you can create dummy credit card numbers with spend caps that you can enable or disable at any point. Any online shopping done with these masked cards will show up on your statements as simply purchases from Abine, regardless of which vendor you may have shopped from.
Abine's latest product is geared toward those who want to enjoy the most out of the Web without sacrificing their personal data in the process. Though there are still many alternative methods, ranging from creating your own separate dummy accounts to complete net abstinence, MaskMe offers a happy medium, sure to please both the casually careful user and identity theft paranoid netizen, alike.