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Re: [ietf-smtp] [Shutup] Proposed Charter for the "SMTP Headers Unhealthy To User Privacy" WG (fwd)

2015-12-11 09:49:03

--On Friday, December 11, 2015 06:48 -0800 Ned Freed
<ned(_dot_)freed(_at_)mrochek(_dot_)com> wrote:

What should actually happen here is that the end-user should
say "huh, my service provider isn't helping me, I should
switch to someone who provides better service." 

And give up the email address they've had for many years,
which they have given to all their friends and customers,
printed on their business cards, subscribed to mailing lists,
and perhaps most importantly, attached to all of their online
accounts, some of which can only be changed by abandoning the
account, with all that implies?


And _that_, if we really care about usability and privacy,
rather than proposing symbolic actions that decrease one and
don't help significantly with the other, is where we might
usefully concentrate some effort.  The use of an email address
as a primary account identifier and exclusive personal
identifier is a bad idea.  Most of us know it.   Mail provider
(or ISP) lock-in is high on the list of reasons, but think about
how most of us would react if someone told us that our street
addresses were now our identifier and therefore we could not
move, ever again, no matter what the reasons.

I share the general pessimism about trying to educate users, but
educating regulators to see forcing people to use email
addresses as identifiers as an anti-competitive action;
companies and financial institutions to understand that, if the
user switches email addresses, they may not be back; etc., might
be more plausible.  It isn't a protocol problem (although there
are protocols we could make more hostile to the use of email
addresses and other inappropriate strings as long-term
identifiers), but this is an area in which a clear
recommendation from the IETF or IAB might actually be helpful.


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