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Computing: Yahoo Proposes New E-mail System
Wednesday, 2003 December 10 - 5:01 pm
I almost stood up and cheered when I read about Yahoo's proposal for a new e-mail system designed to combat spam. It's about time that a company with clout worked for the greater good in this arena, instead of trying to take advantage of the situation to promote their own technology. (Are you listening, Microsoft?)

The e-mail system we have in place today stinks. Period. It was designed during an era of Internet idyll, where geeks could roam freely without running into the unwashed masses of consumers and marketers. Now, it's a fat and easy target.

To be more technical: today's e-mail protocols lack the authentication and encryption mechanisms necessary to provide security and privacy for users. E-mail is probably the single-most insecure part of anyone's system (yes, even for Microsoft Windows users).

A replacement system is necessary, but in order for that to happen, the replacement must be ubiquitous. I don't want to worry about whether my recipient is using the same system as I am; that would happen if (a) the system was commercially monopolized by some company, or (b) the system was difficult and confusing for average users. (The latter is the problem with PGP-signed messages, by the way.)

So kudos to Yahoo for proposing an open system that benefits everyone, not just themselves. Maybe some of those Yahoo executives were once free-roaming geeks themselves.
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Posted by Ken in: techwatch

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