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[P]
A better email.

By Girf in Internet
Sun Jan 14, 2001 at 09:20:02 AM EST
Tags: Technology (all tags)
Technology

For almost everyone, spam is a daily fact of life. It could be said that if you have an email address, you are guaranteed to receive spam. Mind you, there are ways to avoid spam, for example there are numerous client side spam filters, similar spam filters have been built into some of the more popular email clients as well; on the server-side you can subscribe to MAPS Realtime Blackhole List.


Instead of spending our efforts trying to hide from individual email messages, we should look at the bigger picture.

Email was one of the first services the Internet offered, the main lure of it being that you could send messages (memos, white papers, etc..) to anyone almost instantly. It was developed when the Internet was used only by a few people, none of whom had any interest of 'Getting rich from the Internet'. Then the Internet started to grow, and the spammers came along, and email system had no way of stopping them since when it was built nobody ever thought that if a piece of mail was sent to your address, you might not want to read it.

Now we live in the times of free email services, such as MSN's Hotmail, and thousands of others (Yahoo!, Lycos, Apple, etc, etc, etc). The email system was definitely made for these. Now, I'm not saying that free email services are responsible for spam, but rather they help out greatly (suppling return addresses, etc); a quick count of the ten 'spams' that I receive last night, 9 of them mention a free web-based email address on them somewhere.

Basically, the email system was not meant for billions of people all 'with no last name'.

If we can't identify the person who is sending the email to us, how can we insure that it is a legitimate email, something that we want to hear? I am suggesting here that a new email-type system should be created, something that was controlled by a independent organization who hands out the email addresses, and deals with abuse complaints. It could work similar to the way Internic works now.

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A better email. | 35 comments (30 topical, 5 editorial, 0 hidden)
Maybe you don't understand... (4.20 / 15) (#1)
by theboz on Sat Jan 13, 2001 at 10:17:03 AM EST

how email works. I set up an email server on my computer. Even without registering a domain you can do it, although email@ipaddress is a bit of an ugly way to do it. However, there's nothing to stop me from doing this. There are many people out there doing this, and really email is more of an internal thing. If you want secure email, feel free to set up an email server that only you and your friends and family can use. It doesn't send to or recieve from the internet, just the people you want it to. That would be very easy to do, in fact I have done that before. Anyways, you can set up your own system like that. My point of view is that if you don't like the public email you are signed up for now, go get another address somewhere else that noone can send to you from except other users on that system.

I hate spam as much as the next guy, but to make some sort of artificial policy to limit technology to solve a psychological problem (you have to be insane to think I'd buy something sent to me via spam) just doesn't work. You would make the internet less usable than it is now, and sometimes it just sucks as it is.

Stuff.

Yes.. And that's what's wrong with it.. (3.00 / 5) (#3)
by Girf on Sat Jan 13, 2001 at 10:34:46 AM EST

The fact the you can set up a sendmail server at home is the reason why we get some much spam

[ Parent ]
Your soulution is a lot like RIAAs (4.37 / 8) (#14)
by delmoi on Sat Jan 13, 2001 at 12:31:33 PM EST

Except that Piracy is much more of a threat to them then then spam is to you.

Basicaly, what you're proposing is taking away everyone's freedom beacuse a few people are using their freedom to annoy you. Its really retarded. I'm not saying I wouldn't like to get rid of spam, but your solution is severe overkill.
--
"'argumentation' is not a word, idiot." -- thelizman
[ Parent ]
Nonsense (4.40 / 10) (#17)
by Robert Uhl on Sat Jan 13, 2001 at 02:42:21 PM EST

Most SPAM is not sent through a local sendmail--it is sent via a direct connexion to port 25. Due to lame and annoying things like the MAPS DUL (which I refuse to link to), I have been forced to use my ISPs mail server. All I want from the net is a connexion--I can do everything else. Why should I be forced to use someone else's mail server or someone else's news server?

What we need is for mail admins and news admins to start applying the death penalty to spammers. State quite openly that in six months any domain or netblock which sends spam (and does not respond to complaints adequately) will be banned. There is nothing which says I must accept mail or news from anyone else. Indeed, perhaps the net would have been better had this sort of thing been in place from the start. We may have seen more static IPs (a static IP gives one the opportunity to build up a reputation, even if the rest of one's organisation is rotten), and more decentralisation, and less of this idea that email is a right, that the network must carry my traffic.

[ Parent ]

MAPS DUL (4.25 / 4) (#24)
by DaSyonic on Sat Jan 13, 2001 at 06:45:23 PM EST

I subscribe to the MAPS DUL (Dial Up User List) You have a point, but your missing 1 big important fact. Your ISP doesnt WANT you to run your own mail server. I can almost garuntee you, YOUR isp added ITS OWN IP's to the MAPS DUL, as this is the policy. They do this because thats how alot of Spam is sent.. So now when you connect to a mail server using the MAPS DUL you cant send mail... Dont like it? Wanna run your own mailserver? Talk to your ISP and get an IP/block that isnt on the DUL.. Your ISP has specified IPs it doesnt want on there.. Im getting off track, The MAPS DUL is not to blame, but your choice of ISP or your ISPs services is to blame. Either switch ISPs that lets you run any service you please, or upgrade your service to a business class level, or whatever the policy of the ISP is. I for one will continue to support the MAPS DUL, as well many other mail administrators. Oh, and there is nothing you from running your own mail server at your current status, just route it through your ISP's mail server. Cheers

Linux: Because a PC is a terrible thing to waste.
James Brents
[ Parent ]
Try Again, I'm Afraid (1.00 / 1) (#33)
by Robert Uhl on Mon Jan 15, 2001 at 08:20:46 PM EST

My ISP does allow me to run whatever I wish. I've DSL, and they're quite happy to handle whatever traffic I generate. They view themselves as supplying the pipe: what I put in it, and in what direction, is my business. It's an excellent ISP, and cheap as well.

If I run my ownl server, and route mail through my ISP, it's not a whole lot of good--it adds a hop for every mail!

The net's been going downhill for years. A decade ago it was just about perfect, albeit slow. But the culture was wodnerful. Even the BBS world was better than the current state of affairs. It's a pity we can't network everyone together cheaply again, but leace out the lamers:-(

[ Parent ]

I think what he's suggesting is this. (4.20 / 5) (#4)
by Seumas on Sat Jan 13, 2001 at 10:42:21 AM EST

I may be completely wrong, but I think what he is suggesting is that receiving MTA somehow check against a main public server to verify that the address in the message is legitimate and registered. Sort of like reverse DNS, only for email. Anything that isn't registered doesn't go through and the MTA bounces it back to the sending MTA.

I think that opens up lot of beauracracy and potential control issues, like the issues we have had for several years with NSI. Plus, we don't need the every person in the world to lose their email for a day because some kid cracked the ERS (email registeration server?).

Besides, just from a technical standpoint -- can you imagine how huge and sloth-like such a database would be? DNS manages pretty well right now (who knows if it will once we have a zillion stupid TLDs), but what if for every domain name, there were suddenly hundreds, thousands or even millions of email addreses to register? God, that would suck.

Besides, the goal of every admin is to eek every last bit of performance they can from their email server. In my line of work, I often have corporate customers wanting to host hundreds of thousands of accounts from one server (our product scales very well). Sometimes, if they don't have the single piece of hardware needed for that -- they have to set up several less powerful boxes and distribute access via MMP, but still -- the point is that they want performance. Setting the email server to do a hostname lookup on every submission is enough to kill the server under a fairly heavy and consistant load, which is why people never enable it. If you had to do a search against a massive (and slow) database of email addresses, it would do even more damage to performance than hostname lookups. I just don't think it is a feasible solution.
--
I just read K5 for the articles.
[ Parent ]

I don't like that idea. (4.60 / 15) (#2)
by Seumas on Sat Jan 13, 2001 at 10:30:51 AM EST

I don't like that idea. I'm not going to have anyone hand out my email addresses. I run my own websites and I'll generate whatever email addresses (for myself or others) that I want. And as for 'real names' -- there are very legitimate reasons for not wanting real names on email addresses. The least of which are to avoid identification from stalkers, friends, family, employers, future employers, government groups and a lot of other places that would harass you punish you for saying what you say.

This is just like the CDA -- the solution offered does not have a solid enough benefit to compensate for the 'freedom' of the majority that would be sacrificed.

Spam honestly isn't that much of a hassle. I get several hundred emails per week in my personal email (and another 500 to 1000 at work). I could just delete the spam (actually, I save it all to a folder) with the press of a button. Spam is very easy to identify by the subject line and/or the sender's address.

I actually deal with every spam I get. I gave up a long time ago becuase the foot-work involved in responding to the appropriate providers for each spammer was too much. Now that Spamcop exists, I just use it. It's a pretty decent service and I manage to help toast a couple dozen accounts every week. Even though I get about two dozen spam emails per day, I can process them all through spamcop within a few minutes.

The majority of spam comes from places like rogue-machines that serve no other purpose than flooding the world with these messages and from services like hotmail which need to be more restrictive themselves. The rest of the spam comes from places like uunet and aol, who need to start terminating accounts instead of letting people continue to spam.

In this regard, I think the solution is a more widely distributed (and perhaps more automatic) service like Spamcop. The more reports a provider receives (and the faster they receive them) the easier and faster the account in question will be toasted. This is a good way to handle it. Now, instead of going to a website and copying a message to a text box and sending it and waiting and yadda yadda yadda -- it would be very cool if there were some way that every email program could have a little folder that you drop spam into and it handles the rest of the process of responding to the likely provider and/or upstream providers responsible for the spam account. Have all of that done in the background. I think this would be a painless and effective solution. I hate spam. I hate it a lot. But I can live with it. And I would rather live with it if the alternative means more restrictive access to email as a tool.
--
I just read K5 for the articles.

Spamcop.net (3.75 / 4) (#8)
by driph on Sat Jan 13, 2001 at 11:12:46 AM EST

The best part of this story is that I was able to find out about Spamcop. Thanks for the link! Interested in writing a story on them? :] I think it's a service more people would use if they knew of em...

--
Vegas isn't a liberal stronghold. It's the place where the rich and powerful gamble away their company's pension fund and strangle call girls in their hotel rooms. - Psycho Dave
[ Parent ]
Good idea. (3.00 / 2) (#9)
by Seumas on Sat Jan 13, 2001 at 11:18:21 AM EST

Maybe I will write a story on them. That is, if nobody else beats me to it. It would be a nice way to repent for my awful submission yesterday. *grin*.
--
I just read K5 for the articles.
[ Parent ]
MAPS (2.63 / 11) (#6)
by dreamfish on Sat Jan 13, 2001 at 10:47:49 AM EST

on the server-side you can subscribe to MAPS Realtime Blackhole List

In reality its usually your ISP's backbone provider (or maybe the ISP itself if they're large enough) who decide whether to subscribe to MAPS RBL. Individuals have no say in this - so it's not really an option.

err (3.80 / 5) (#7)
by guffin on Sat Jan 13, 2001 at 10:51:40 AM EST

Well, actually it IS, if you run your own mail server.

[ Parent ]
Re: err (3.00 / 2) (#21)
by dreamfish on Sat Jan 13, 2001 at 04:17:23 PM EST

Setting up your own mail server to avoid spam may be considered a bit drastic by some :)

[ Parent ]
True but.. (none / 0) (#29)
by guffin on Sat Jan 13, 2001 at 11:00:05 PM EST

...what if you have your own domain, a free-unix box and a big fat pipe? why pay for some other company to host your domain?

[ Parent ]
Not worth it... (3.28 / 7) (#10)
by sl4ck0ff on Sat Jan 13, 2001 at 11:30:46 AM EST

Not worth redesigning e-mail for the purpose of avoiding spam, use a filter or procmail. It's too much work and the determined spammers would find a way past that, too.
/me has returned to slacking
more meta data (3.83 / 6) (#12)
by cpfeifer on Sat Jan 13, 2001 at 11:55:21 AM EST

It seems to me that the problem of automatically filtering out spam is a similar problem of determining the content/usefulness of a webpage. The solution to this is to use meta data, or referential data (a la Google). Perhaps we need more descriptive mail headers? Or we need clients to better understand/act on the headers that are already there?


--- "What's the point of waking up in the morning if you don't try to match the enourmousness of the known forces in the world with something powerful in your own life?" - Don Delillo, "Underworld"
Re: Meta data (3.50 / 2) (#15)
by Girf on Sat Jan 13, 2001 at 01:00:55 PM EST

Google uses other webpages as an indicator of the quality of the webpage. With email, you have other emails, but only other emails that you have recieved. This would help somewhat, the client could say I recieved mail from this person before and I trashed it immediately therefore we could do the same to this one. Or 'I recieved mail from this person before and I replied to it, therefore it is likely good'.

The problem comes when it is a new person, whom you have never recieved mail from before, then the client could go to 'the registry' and do a whois to determine who this person is..

[ Parent ]

Ugh (3.41 / 12) (#13)
by handle on Sat Jan 13, 2001 at 12:03:53 PM EST

Just want the Net needs. More bureaucracy.

I may have missed something. (4.09 / 11) (#16)
by FeersumAsura on Sat Jan 13, 2001 at 02:16:24 PM EST

I may have misunderstood this but the general gist is that htomail etc is for people who want to remain anonymous and this should be prevented. I disagree. Most of the time I do not hide behind a fake name. My e-mail adress is real and i will uncover my Kuro5hin anonyminity. I am Jamie Dainton a 19 year old trainee engineer who can't spell. I live in the North West of England.
But sometimes my identity should not be revealed and I do not want anyone to stop that. Mod it down cos he might be a troll from the NSA.

I'm so pre-emptive I'd nuke America to save time.
IM2000 (4.41 / 12) (#19)
by chrisbolt on Sat Jan 13, 2001 at 02:58:14 PM EST

Dan J. Bernstein has a proposal for a new Internet mail infrastructure here and it looks interesting.

---
<panner> When making backups, take a lesson from rusty: it doesn't matter if you make them, only that you _think_ you made them.
regarding storage of spam (4.00 / 2) (#27)
by jesterzog on Sat Jan 13, 2001 at 07:31:00 PM EST

It's an interesting idea and I have a few thoughts.

Probably it's strength against spam would be that the sending ISP could be more easily identified, and probably giving people the option not to collect mail from it.

If the motivation is supposed to be based on huge volumes of spam consuming storage space on a sender's ISP, I'm not sure it would work. Reasons:

  • Storage is cheap. Most ISP's will monitor excessive sending of email by their customers as they often do anyway, whether it wastes storage or not. They don't want to be spam transmitters. But even today when they're not wasting storage, they still waste bandwidth. It's mostly the ISP's that don't care and want the spammers' business who are a problem.
  • If storage was a problem it probably wouldn't be long before someone would develop a system for effectively compressing mail waiting on the sending end. (Keeping in mind that repetitive text such as the same message over and over again compresses really well.)

jesterzog Fight the light


[ Parent ]
Storage impact on ISPs (3.00 / 1) (#32)
by kmself on Sun Jan 14, 2001 at 06:49:39 PM EST

I believe on balance it's neutral and quite possibly negative (less storage required). This is because:

  • Most ISPs already spool customer mail.
  • Most large-volume mail delivery is from spam and other bulk-mail deliveries.

I don't have stats myself, but I believe spam already accounts for a significant fraction of mail units and volume (storage) delivered. Stopping this "at the doorstep" would be a huge benefit.

--
Karsten M. Self
SCO -- backgrounder on Caldera/SCO vs IBM
Support the EFF!!
There is no K5 cabal.
[ Parent ]

Sender spools -- Brilliant (4.00 / 1) (#31)
by kmself on Sun Jan 14, 2001 at 06:45:20 PM EST

Personal to chrisbolt: when you're posting a link, please provide sufficient context that the lay reader can work out whether or not to follow it.

The idea is typically Bernstein: utterly noncompliant with existing standards, and blindingly brilliant.

Its essence is in the subject of my post: sender spools. As Bernstein writes:

Each message is stored under the sender's disk quota at the sender's ISP. ISPs accept messages only from authorized local users.

The brilliance is that this turns the economics of email on its head: the sender now bears the brunt of costs (and responsibility) for email delivery. While it's likely that delivery of an identical message to some large number (say tens of thousands to millions) of recipients won't actually require significant storage (one copy of the message, plus an appropriate list), delivery will require that the sender have a stable and persistent network presense. And a fat pipe. In all likelihood, spamming will result in complaints from early recipients and discontinued service for the spammer from his/her ISP. Better yet, "personalized" commercial email spam will require the sender either store the individualized messages or have a mail transport agent which can generate the messages on request. A future business opportunity for someone.

One obvious problem is that email receipt becomes a negotiated arrangement. I currently configure my systems to download and spool mail for me locally, with a fairly effective white / grey / black list filter. This means that email is more-or-less instantly available to me when I want to read it. Remotely requesting each item would be time-consuming on my 56K connection. So there should be arrangements for automated receipt approval for particular mail originators -- personal friends, business contacts, mail lists. Arrangements for the latter, and an implicit understanding by most mailing lists that the list manager won't spool your mail -- you'd best be prepared to pick it up when it's delivered, should address concerns from legitimate high-volume email originators. This is a point of failure for virtually all other email "solutions" I've seen proposed.

I also see the proposal as one of segregating trunk from last-mile delivery. Essentially, mail is spooled at one end of the trunk (fat pipe) -- either the sender's ISP or the sender's own high-speed gateway. Message notices are spooled at the recipient's mail gateway (POP server, web-based email, etc.). What's required is for a protocol to be developed which allows a persistent point-of-presence for the recipient, from which mail can be farmed to an arbitrary final delivery location. These protocols already exist in the form of IMAP and POP, I don't see this as a significant problem.

--
Karsten M. Self
SCO -- backgrounder on Caldera/SCO vs IBM
Support the EFF!!
There is no K5 cabal.
[ Parent ]

Mail Exchanges (3.50 / 8) (#22)
by vastor on Sat Jan 13, 2001 at 04:30:41 PM EST

One alternative (if ugly solution) would be to have a point system by which people must have quota to send mail.

So you register emails-r-us.com and you might get 100 quota points. You hook into the mail network via your neighboring e-mail servers (just the same as is done for NNTP now for example). That would let you send 100 e-mails from your domain and then you can't send anymore.

To get quota you either need to be sent e-mail (getting sent an e-mail gets you 1 quota point - I'd make it a ratio except then you'd get spam rings of spammers to build up quota) or you have to buy more quota. So net contributers of e-mail to the internet, which might be emails-r-us can then get a surplus while spammers-r-us have to keep buying them.

There would need to be some agreed upon authorities (assuming people with surpluses didn't get directly contacted by people with shortages) to deal with the sale of quota, but in effect either the free market could determine what price people have to pay to spam or some arbitrary value could be decided.

For direct connections between mail servers, intermediaries might be used where people bank a small percent of their quota to save on the e-mails and quota moving through potentially dozens of mail servers.

The system would be based on trust (buying quota would have it flow through the system to get to the end destination), so if your upstream mailservers found you kept sending twice as many mails as you were getting quota points then they'd eventually disconnect you or refuse to carry your mail anymore. Similar actions could occur if people tried spamming runs - the upstream server would notice an attempt to send 500 despite only having 50 quota and would throttle it.

Of course this might cause problems for legitimate activities like e-mail lists, but perhaps some special trusted sites could be granted exemptions on a case by case basis (or bonus quota points to adjust for it, just so they couldn't be taken over by spammers).

Ideally having black and white quota points would be good - white points being normal and black being bad-bought points and black points having a currency based value - so you might decide only to accept black quota e-mails if they're worth more than 10 cents (or if you really hate spam, $10). That way you can decide how much your time is worth to look through the spam (or the time of your anti-spam filters, but that would devalue the market for everyone that is happy to put up the occassional junk mail for a reward).

Of course, it could get pretty ugly if someone like AOL of hotmail wasn't prepared to follow quota and they got cut off, but presumably you'd use both the current system and whatever new system was implemented in tandom for a long while - just with the new system emails going into a trusted folder while the old ones go into another one (you could do all the normal filtering so people you know will e-mail you in the old system could have their mails auto-moved into the trusted mail folder).


No need for a central DB (4.57 / 7) (#23)
by J'raxis on Sat Jan 13, 2001 at 04:37:56 PM EST

There is no need for a central database in which all email addresses are "registered."

Take a look at the current way the domain whois servers work. Each registrar maintains their own database of registered domains. There is a central *.(com|net|org) database, whois.internic.net, but it only exists because there is no way to determine which whois server to query when someone looks up an address -- you can't tell, for example, that the records for Jraxis.com reside on whois.opensrs.net and not some other server.

Now, the username@hostname nature of an email address removes the need for this central DB completely. To verify the validity of username, one would only have to verify by querying some kind of "email whois" server located at hostname.

Possibly some implementation using existing technologies like identd or even Sendmail (it has a VRFY command which can tell a client if a user exists on its servers or not) would be possible. Upon receipt of a piece of mail, the receiving server validates the existence of the address in the From line.

____________

Combining this with the use of the Abuse.net whois server, one could automatically report forgeries to the ISP being forged.

  1. Received mail from username@hostname.
  2. Verify username by querying the "email whois" at hostname.
  3. If it's forged, bounce the mail, with the appropriate forgery notice, to the abuse address found by running whois hostname@whois.abuse.net.

Note: I don't recommend anyone trying this now, as most ISPs don't want to deal with spam originating from elsewhere and only forging said ISP's name.

____________

-- The Antispamming Raxis

[ J’raxis·Com | Liberty in your lifetime ]

digital signatures (4.57 / 7) (#25)
by jesterzog on Sat Jan 13, 2001 at 06:52:06 PM EST

I hate spam. Since I bought my own domain I've been very careful reading privacy policies, and I've managed to keep it to the point where I could count the amount of spam I've received in the last year on my fingers.

I also use a system where I give a customised unique address to each and every loosely trusted organisation who gets it (electronically at least). Just in the last couple of weeks, I've started getting spam addressed to realaudio-zog@[nospam].jester.net.nz.

I now know confidently, for a fact, that this is the address I had to give to realaudio.com six months ago before they'd let me download realplayer. I'm never going to trust them with information again and when the opportunity comes up I'll recommend to everyone else not to trust them either. Suffice it to say that this spam definitely does not come from their "contracted business partners".

I think digital signing would solve a lot of problems here. If more than one person I knew actually understood and cared about this sort of thing, it might be feasible for me to start rejecting unsigned email.

It probably wouldn't work in the state that it's in now though, because it's so easy to fake.

Presently there are two or three main keyservers that are used, and there's nothing to stop anyone posting new keys under whatever identity they want to be known as. The main problem being that with a public keyserver where anyone can set up keys, it's difficult for the email receiver to know if the key is actually from that person, or if it's from someone pretending to be that person. (ie. We're back where we started.)

If it became habit for ISP's to run keyservers on a standard port holding keys for email addresses on their domains, it would be easier for a receiver to verify that a signed email actually came from that address. They could simply compare the sig with the domain's keyserver, knowing that it could only be set by the person who owned that address. Obviously there are dangers like intercepting traffic and so on, but it would still solve 99% of identity problems. For anything that needed more security people should probably be swapping their keys manually anyway.

Of course there's the problem of actually convincing anyone to use the system at all. This would likely need a major company like Microsoft encouraging people to use it through default settings. (Getting an infrastructure in place could be a good step towards encouraging more use of encryption, too.)


jesterzog Fight the light


Customized addresses (4.00 / 3) (#26)
by adamsc on Sat Jan 13, 2001 at 07:27:52 PM EST

I also use custom addresses extensively. For awhile now, I've been thinking that what we need is something with less manual work:

1) I'm asked for an address by a web site or registration program.
2) A simple program (something that lives in systray/dock/Deskbar) generates an address and adds it to my database (which has info like who it was generated for, when and so forth).
3) My MTA/MDA records the "delivered-to" address for each incoming message and updates the database for usage stats.
4) I have another app (or feature in compliant mail clients) which allows me to flag someone's address as a spam. Optionally, something like the RBL/ORBS could be used to automatically mark an address as spam.
5) There's a tie-in with something like spamcop to do the appropriate abuse@ notifications. The original message is stashed in an evidence folder, which is optionally web-accessible so that the URL can be included in abuse compliants.
6) All future received mail is tossed in the evidence folder and deleted. Optionally, extremely grouchy people could configure it to be forwarded with suitable remarks to other addresses (sales@company-which-promised-not-to-release-my-address.com).

The big thing here would involve making things seamless. This involves integration with the email client and possibly with other software (e.g. Mozilla) to generate addresses.

[ Parent ]
sneakemail.com (5.00 / 1) (#34)
by KMS on Mon Jan 15, 2001 at 10:18:41 PM EST

You're almost describing Sneakemail, check it out.

[ Parent ]
How much will you sacrifice for this? (4.00 / 4) (#30)
by Talos on Sun Jan 14, 2001 at 03:11:22 AM EST

I find the notion of a centralized agency controlling _all_ email rather frightening. If I don't misunderstand your idea, all email sent would need to be verified against a master list of all email addresses, to ensure that whoever sent this message would be traceable. Who will control this list, and how can we ensure that they will act impartially in all cases? What becomes a violation of your email account regulations, which would result in you losing email access?

For example, say you have something 'illegal' on your hard drive, say for the sake of argument DeCSS. The central agency who controls email is made aware of this, are your email privileges revoked? Email seems to be an excellent way to distribute this illegal code.

Were email as controlled as this, would internet access in general soon become controlled? If your email can be yanked, then it is only a small leap to censor your entire internet access. This central authority would then have an immense amount of control over people.

Sorry if this is too jumpy, but this reeks of fascism ;)

For the record, I really don't care about the spam I recieve. (It's easily deleted)

If you really hate spam.. (5.00 / 1) (#35)
by LennyDotCom on Sun Jan 21, 2001 at 12:56:14 PM EST

If you hate spam as much as me read my WAR ON SPAM page We really can make a difference if we all do our part war on spam
If spam pisses you offThen piss off the spammers!
A better email. | 35 comments (30 topical, 5 editorial, 0 hidden)
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