Make Your Email Disappear When You Want It To
August 21, 2000
Are you worried about some of the private messages you've emailed? Could what you wrote come back to haunt you. Have you changed political parties and wished you hadn't written those nasty words?
If any of the above are true, or if you're just a bit concerned about your privacy, Disappearing may be just what you need. The new product for Microsoft Outlook renders the email messages you've sent unreadable after a specified period of time.
The Outlook-version of the product is free, and it's a snap to use. The Outlook plug-in is about 350KB, and has a default disappearing period of 45 days. You can set other periods, if you prefer.
Your outgoing message is encrypted using the 128- bit Blowfish algorithm, which will keep all but the most ardent from reading your message. After the period you've set, the encryption algorithm will fail to unlock the message from Disappearing's keyserver, and the text will be locked away forever.
You can send encrypted messages to anyone, they don't need the plug-in -- your message is keyed on Disappearing's servers; all the encryption is handled by the plug-in you've installed and Disappearing's keyserver. When the recipient attempts to read your encrypted message, the messages' corresponding key is requested from Disappearing's site -- if the request is made within the allotted period, fine, the message opens. If not, too bad -- your recipient needs a time machine to read your message.
Disappearing plans to release other versions of the plug-in for Outlook Express, Lotus Notes, and Eudora users.
Dave Murphy, Itrain.org