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Gmail (or equivalent - there are many other free online mail providers) gives you a full blown email address and obviously requests a lot of info in the process.
A great alternative where an email address is simply a requirement to entry and you care little about anything that's actually sent to it is to use a Mailinator address.
One of those ways is obviously when data is breached from a system and all the email addresses are on easy display: address. It's not always that explicit either, for example Ashley Madison returned slightly different responses which could still be observed. For example, when doing a password reset: If you authenticate to another site using your Gmail account (social logins are increasingly common), then you may be prompted to share data attributes such as your name with that site.
This is a very particular class of site and like many others we've recently seen compromised, it's highly likely that members would have preferred to keep their identities secret.
The dating site, which bills itself as a website where members can find other interested parties for casual sex or other spontaneous meetups, is part of a much larger parent company called Friend Finder Networks, which has more than 600 million members across its 40,000 websites.
There are always questions when a data breach occurs, and one of the major ones for consumers is, “What will a thief do with my information?
The email address is the first, most logical step and honestly this is a huge portion of the anonymity story as it relates to identities being spread around the web when a system is compromised. Consider the data that many sites request on signup: name, location (possibly your exact address), date of birth, phone number etc.
If protecting your identity is indeed important to you, consider what these values should be.