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Re: [ietf-smtp] [Shutup] chatting with big gorillas, was Proposed Charter

2015-12-14 10:43:47

--On Monday, December 14, 2015 16:07 +0000 Paul Smith
<paul(_at_)pscs(_dot_)co(_dot_)uk> wrote:

On 14/12/2015 15:31, John Levine wrote:
 Talk about something that doesn't scale.

Oh, I know it won't scale. But if the assertion is that "gmail
is so amazing that no one ever needs to contact them" (which
it was), then I'll dispute that.

Given that offering helpful support doesn't scale, so gmail
can't/won't answer 'postmaster' emails with a helpful reply,
then maybe that's a reason why information needs to be
available to people so they can help themselves, rather than
hiding even more.


In principle, I agree.  In practice, until and unless gmail
users start voting with their feet and do so in large
quantities, Google has every reason to believe that what they
are doing (including delivering a service that could easily
become costly to run if saddled with requirements for support)
for free[1], I can't even imagine the situation changing and
can't see how speculating on such changes moves us forward.

I wouldn't recommend holding your breath waiting for that mass
exodus of users.

You don't like it.  I don't like it.  I think that, in some
alternate universe in which "free" email accounts were
forbidden, a lot of economics would change and operational
changes would soon follow.  But I don't know how to do it in
this universe/ reality.


[1[ Of course, in the Google case and some others, "free" really
means "in exchange for the right to display advertising to you
and to deduce your profile and sell that to advertisers".
Excuse me if, against the background of users voluntarily
agreeing to that sort of privacy compromise any time they send
mail to or from a gmail (or several others -- they are certainly
not unique), this discussion about disclosure or privacy-related
information in trace fields strikes me as a bit of "privacy
theatre" to complement the "security theatre" we've seen for
years -- doing something to say that action has been considered
and taken, but picking what to do because it seems easy, helps
people claim that they care and are taking action, and looks
like action even if it is actually almost completely pointless.
Just as the airport version of security theatre has made a major
contribution toward turning travel into an unpleasant experience
without adding much actual security, reducing the information
content of trace fields seems to me to be likely to reduce the
efficiency, reliability, and effectiveness of email without
significant improving on privacy about things that a determined
attacker cannot figure out in other ways.

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