There is a company named RapLeaf, that collects all information it can find around email addresses in the internet, mostly from social-networks and similar sites. Others have already noticed, that at RapLeaf, your personals are public. Yes, it is quite scary what they do. But on the other hand they are right, when they say: „it’s only aggregating what’s out there“. They are showing us the data, that anybody could collect. In fact we should be thankful, that they prove that it is actually very feasible to do, what privacy advocates always warned about: if you correlate all the small digital traces we produce every day, it can become a very powerful and potentially unpleasant data mine.
As for every huge collection of email addresses, one can assume that spammers are, among others, highly interested in that data, although they don’t want to pay for them. So it is not really surprising, that another statement from RapLeafs privacy policies turns out to be very true:
„Despite Rapleaf’s efforts to protect your personal information, there is always some risk that an unauthorized third party may find a way around our security systems“
By some coincidences I found a link, which seems to give access to RapLeafs (probably huge) list of email addresses: http://thebes.drakkenterprises.com/rapleafsrch/getpage.php?TYPE=RAPLEAF
Congratulations, probably this will eventually reveal your email address as well!
Update: the link doesn’t seem to spit out email addresses anymore. But I can testify, that it did until today in the form „<largenumber>, user%40example.com“. Every time you hit the reload button, you got a new one.