Software provider Privacy Inc. today announced the availability of Opaque, a privacy management tool that aims to protect consumers’ identity while online.

Opaque’s technology enables users to protect their private information from being shared, stolen or misused by keeping their e-mail address private. Opaque generates unlimited virtual e-mail addresses (v-mails) for use online, preventing the abuse of a consumer’s “real” e-mail address. This second-generation product aims to offer users increased functionality and compatibility not only with Hotmail, Yahoo!, Google or ISP-based e-mail accounts, but also with Microsoft’s Office Outlook platform and Apple Macintosh systems.

With Opaque, users can control who has access to their Inbox, create trusted e-mail relationships, and set their individual privacy level to screen or block unapproved senders. Opaque has the ability to protect users’ identity online even if v-mails are shared or stolen by screening all incoming e-mail against a user’s approved senders and privacy settings.

“The increase in privacy violations, including online fraud and identity theft, is driving the demand for online privacy solutions,” said David Zumwalt, Privacy Inc.’s CEO. “Opaque’s v-mail offers a tool to prevent identity theft that has never before been available to Internet users. By giving a user online identity protection, they’re able to maximize their Internet experience by exploring, interacting, and transacting with confidence.”

Rather than filtering, Opaque blocks unapproved senders at the server so that they never end up in a user’s Inbox. Opaque also eliminates “false positives” where e-mail is mistakenly identified by a filter as spam and buried in a junk e-mail folder. By controlling access to the user, Opaque also provides complete protection against phishing attacks (e-mail scams).

Opaque offers privacy protection with identity exposure options and privacy levels. Identity Exposure options allow subscribers to use either a personalized virtual e-mail address (v-mail), which lets people know who you are (e.g. jsmith.home@janesmith.opaque.net) or private v-mails, which reveal no information (e.g. davis.0YE8RS@TCREJY.4opaque.net). Privacy levels can be set from Open (anyone can send to that v-mail), Screened (non-approved senders are flagged with a warning) or Exclusive (only approved senders get through).

Additionally, v-mails created for specific temporary uses, for instance, applying for a mortgage, can be easily deleted.

“We’re also excited about what this means for e-commerce,” added Zumwalt. “When users can create their own trusted environment, the result will be significant growth in online spending, which has seen more cautious growth as a result of privacy concerns.”

Opaque is made available through Privacy, Inc.’s channel partners, including many ISPs, affinity groups, retailers and e-tailers. An annual subscription to Opaque, with unlimited v-mails and full functionality, is now available for $39.95.

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