Why we don’t reuse usernames

At Hushmail, we don’t allow usernames to be used more than once. Once a username has been created, even if it is no longer being used by the person who originally created it, it cannot be recreated and used again. The reason for this is to protect the original user's privacy and security.

Email addresses are often used to reset passwords for other software services. For instance, let’s say you signed up for a Paypal account, years ago, with the account jane.torres@hushmail.com. Imagine that you decided to stop using your Hushmail email address, and requested the account be deleted. If, later on, someone else was allowed to reuse that username, they might receive notifications of your Paypal transactions and possibly be able to get into your Paypal account (by resetting the passphrase). This problem can be much worse If you used that email address for multiple services, the person could access all those accounts and wreak a lot of havoc, changing passwords, assuming your identity, sharing personal information, etc.

In other words, it’s a major security issue. That’s why we don’t allow reusing usernames.

Lifetime of a username

Before an account is permanently deleted, it gets deactivated. Accounts on our system can become deactivated in a variety of ways: if you don't sign in once every three weeks with a legacy free account, if you don't upgrade your free trial account, if you don't renew your premium subscription, or if you cancel your account.

In all these cases, the account gets deactivated for one year. During that year, the account can be reactivated by upgrading to a Hushmail Premium account (and keeping up with the payments). If one year passes with no request to reactivate, the account is permanently deleted. Once an account has been deleted, either by your request or after being deactivated for one year, that username can never be used again.

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