In a digital age where companies expect you to give away so much personal information, and data breaches are becoming the norm, one of the best VPN providers out there, Surfshark, has just launched a new feature to help users enhance even more their privacy and security online.
Still in beta testing at the time of writing, Alternative ID equips users with an alternative fictitious identity and email address so that people can keep their online persona truly private—even when they sign up for new services.
People need to be subscribed to the provider's security suite bundles, namely Surfshark One or Surfshark One+, to take advantage of Alternative ID.
Why should you use an alternative ID?
"People are constantly asked by websites to provide their personal information, including name, address, and email. At the same time, we can see that data breaches are happening more and more rapidly, and data brokers are also actively buying and selling user data," said Sarunas Sereika, product manager at Surfshark.
"With Alternative ID, users can minimize their online footprint and enhance their privacy while maintaining their freedom online and being able to sign up on websites or subscribe to newsletters without worry."
Users need to set up the tool with their preferred gender, birth date, and country. The secure VPN provider will then generate a unique persona and email address to use online. These details will then be linked to users' real email addresses so that they will successfully sign in for websites, apps, or newsletters without revealing their true identity.
This will prevent people's inboxes to be flooded by annoying spam emails as well, explained Sereika. Moreover, the alternative personal information can be deleted at any time and new ones re-generated.
Surfshark isn't the first company offering a similar feature to provide people with alternative login credentials. It's almost a standard option nowadays among secure email services.
Yet, the firm claims its Alternative ID solution takes a step further when it comes to users' data security. The provider said to gather only what is essential—so no logs of received emails—apply rigorous encryption standard, and, once the alternative email is modified or erased, this gets entirely disconnected from the associated inbox.
Sereika said: "What sets us apart from many other service providers is our dedication to prioritizing credibility, transparent privacy policies, and ensuring a safe and reliable experience for our users. Furthermore, we provide a flexible option that allows you to enjoy our services for as long as you desire."
He recommends using this tool when signing up for newsletters, online shops, websites with shady privacy protection policies, or those used on a one-off basis.
He also added: "Alternative ID is not meant to be used with official and trustworthy establishments, such as governmental institutions or banks that require your real details."
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Chiara is a multimedia journalist committed to covering stories to help promote the rights and denounce the abuses of the digital side of life—wherever cybersecurity, markets and politics tangle up. She mainly writes news, interviews and analysis on data privacy, online censorship, digital rights, cybercrime, and security software, with a special focus on VPNs, for TechRadar Pro, TechRadar and Tom’s Guide. Got a story, tip-off or something tech-interesting to say? Reach out to email@example.com