Apple files patent to fight spam with automated disposable email addresses

To help combat the rising tide of spam, some users have turned to disposable email addresses that can be easily destroyed or deactivated once abused by a spammer. These accounts usually forward mail to a permanent email address without exposing said address to unwanted parties. This saves users from the hassles associated with changing a permanent email address, such as remembering and notifying important contacts.

As it stands, the disposable email system is cumbersome, says Apple, and may require obtaining accounts from sources other than their primary provider. The generated account names are usually easily recognizable and are sometimes not accepted by certain automated online services that block bots.

Apple proposes an automated system that in some embodiments automatically creates and handles a temporary email address, associating it with a permanent non-disposable address. If and when a disposable account is misused, the user can dump it and move on to a new one without ditching their permanent address.

I do this exact thing — create a series of temporary email addresses whose sole purpose is to draw spam away from my main email accounts. This sounds like a good solution.