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Re: Rethinking Receipt

1998-04-15 09:15:13
At 09:10 AM 4/15/98 -0700, John Ross wrote:
Perhaps the name  ESS signed receipt can be changed and made more
descriptive of  the service it is providing, may I proposed "ESS proof of

One of the wonderful things about the IETF process is that you can have the
same discussion in many Working Groups over a period of years and come to
different conclusions. :-) The term "receipt" has been bandied (and bashed)
about in the IETF mail community for years.

One kind of receipt, an SMTP server saying to another "I got that message",
is called a DSN (Delivery Status Notifications, RFC 1894). This is used for
servers to give each other receipts of message transit but not final
deliver to the recipient. The other kind of receipt, for a recipient to
tell the original sender what they did with the message when they got it,
is called an MDN (Message Delivery Notification, RFC 2298.

ESS-style receipts are different than either of these. Like an MDN, an ESS
receipt says "I got the message". Obviously, if you didn't get the message,
you wouldn't know to send the requested receipt. Where an ESS receipt
differs from an MDN is that it also says "I was able to verify the
signature". This is kind of like the "processed" status of MDNs, but it is
processing on only one part of the message (the signature), not processing
the whole message.

I think "receipt" works well here because it is akin to the postal world.
When you get a receipt request, you usually (but not always) verify that
the message is from someone you know before signing the receipt. What ESS
receipts give you is a verification that you know who sent it to you
because you were able to verify their signature.

Thus, what you get with an ESS receipt is more than the "proof of delivery"
name you are suggesting.

--Paul Hoffman, Director
--Internet Mail Consortium

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