Discussion:
What we'll lose when we give up on email
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RS Wood
2017-07-12 18:23:15 UTC
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https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/12/technology/what-we-lose-when-the-world-moves-on-from-email.html

//--clip
Yet we should mourn email’s death as much as we celebrate it; every
organization’s gain in privacy is bound to result in a loss of public
transparency.

The Trump emails show exactly why. Both Mr. Trump and Rob Goldstone, an
entertainment publicist who had a relationship with the Trump
Organization, understood the sensitivity of their conversation. Mr.
Goldstone actually noted the sensitivity a couple of times in the email
thread.

...

But that is often the case with email. More technically sophisticated
men than Mr. Goldstone and Mr. Trump have fallen for email’s allure:
Emails from Bill Gates made up the key evidence in the Justice
Department’s long-running case against Microsoft, and Steve Jobs’s
audacious emails came back to haunt Apple in several legal proceedings.
Email undid Enron and played a small part in the recent fall of Travis
Kalanick, Uber’s former chief executive.

And those are just the famous cases. Email evidence has become a
routine linchpin of white-collar criminal prosecution, because
everything anyone has ever thought is likely to be contained in email.

Not for long. Savor Don Jr.’s thread; this is email’s last hurrah.
//--clip
--
RS Wood <***@therandymon.com>
Whiskers
2017-07-12 21:28:26 UTC
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Post by RS Wood
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/12/technology/what-we-lose-when-the-world-moves-on-from-email.html
//--clip
Yet we should mourn email’s death as much as we celebrate it; every
organization’s gain in privacy is bound to result in a loss of public
transparency.
The Trump emails show exactly why. Both Mr. Trump and Rob Goldstone, an
entertainment publicist who had a relationship with the Trump
Organization, understood the sensitivity of their conversation. Mr.
Goldstone actually noted the sensitivity a couple of times in the email
thread.
...
But that is often the case with email. More technically sophisticated
Emails from Bill Gates made up the key evidence in the Justice
Department’s long-running case against Microsoft, and Steve Jobs’s
audacious emails came back to haunt Apple in several legal proceedings.
Email undid Enron and played a small part in the recent fall of Travis
Kalanick, Uber’s former chief executive.
And those are just the famous cases. Email evidence has become a
routine linchpin of white-collar criminal prosecution, because
everything anyone has ever thought is likely to be contained in email.
Not for long. Savor Don Jr.’s thread; this is email’s last hurrah.
//--clip
But keeping a record of exactly who said what to whom and when, is an
essential feature of many conversations - especially in business
diplomacy and politics. So any replacement for email is going to have
to be able to do that, and in a way that can be audited, forensically
sometimes. Another of the aspects of email that will have to be
reproduced is that it is not proprietary and is not stored in only one
place, and uses codes and protocols that are publicly accessible. Email
fulfils all those criteria quite well, and any substitute would have to
do all those things at least as well.

What the scandalous Trump and Enron and so on email threads show, is
that email is not the best medium of communication when you really do
not want a record of what was said or even that a conversation happened.
That isn't a defect of email, or a reason to do away with it, or change
it out of recognition; it's a reason to use appropriate tools for the
job in hand.

But humans are lazy, impulsive, and often ignorant and silly when they
think they're being most clever. Add malice and vengeance, and we can
be confident that embarrassing leaks will continue to appear just as
they always have.
--
-- ^^^^^^^^^^
-- Whiskers
-- ~~~~~~~~~~
Michael Black
2017-07-13 17:31:11 UTC
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Post by Whiskers
Post by RS Wood
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/12/technology/what-we-lose-when-the-world-moves-on-from-email.html
//--clip
Yet we should mourn email’s death as much as we celebrate it; every
organization’s gain in privacy is bound to result in a loss of public
transparency.
The Trump emails show exactly why. Both Mr. Trump and Rob Goldstone, an
entertainment publicist who had a relationship with the Trump
Organization, understood the sensitivity of their conversation. Mr.
Goldstone actually noted the sensitivity a couple of times in the email
thread.
...
But that is often the case with email. More technically sophisticated
Emails from Bill Gates made up the key evidence in the Justice
Department’s long-running case against Microsoft, and Steve Jobs’s
audacious emails came back to haunt Apple in several legal proceedings.
Email undid Enron and played a small part in the recent fall of Travis
Kalanick, Uber’s former chief executive.
And those are just the famous cases. Email evidence has become a
routine linchpin of white-collar criminal prosecution, because
everything anyone has ever thought is likely to be contained in email.
Not for long. Savor Don Jr.’s thread; this is email’s last hurrah.
//--clip
But keeping a record of exactly who said what to whom and when, is an
essential feature of many conversations - especially in business
diplomacy and politics. So any replacement for email is going to have
to be able to do that, and in a way that can be audited, forensically
sometimes. Another of the aspects of email that will have to be
reproduced is that it is not proprietary and is not stored in only one
place, and uses codes and protocols that are publicly accessible. Email
fulfils all those criteria quite well, and any substitute would have to
do all those things at least as well.
Yes. Lots of companies no longer want to do email, so you have to fill
out a form on their website. And if you forget to cut and paste, you
don't have a copy of that message. They'll send you email in response,
but they don't want you using the email address. It is weird, with email
I can show the progression of something.

It's the same thing with comments on websites, I may forget to cut and
paste to keep a copy locally (or sometimes things crash so I lose what
I've alrady typed in). But I have most of the messages I've posted to
usenet since 1996, the ones lost because I was careless. It's really too
bulky to be useful, but if I really want to know what I said 20 years ago,
I can dig it up. Not so with comments on a website.



It's sadly amusing that commerce has abused email (even companies where
I've signed up to get their email, they often send way more than is fair,
and it's not like it's vital), let alone outright spammers, but commerce
now wants to do away with email, or at least avoid receiving it.

Michael
Rich
2017-07-13 18:50:43 UTC
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Post by Michael Black
It's sadly amusing that commerce has abused email (even companies
where I've signed up to get their email, they often send way more
than is fair, and it's not like it's vital), let alone outright
spammers, but commerce now wants to do away with email, or at least
avoid receiving it.
I've turned off many a "commerce" email because they felt the need to
send me three advertisements a day for something they thought
important.

But really, this just means they want to be able to advertise to you
for essentially free, but don't want to have to deal with ever hearing
anything back from you.
Ivan Shmakov
2017-07-15 05:05:19 UTC
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[...]
Post by Michael Black
Post by Whiskers
But keeping a record of exactly who said what to whom and when, is
an essential feature of many conversations - especially in business
diplomacy and politics. So any replacement for email is going to
have to be able to do that, and in a way that can be audited,
forensically sometimes. Another of the aspects of email that will
have to be reproduced is that it is not proprietary and is not
stored in only one place, and uses codes and protocols that are
publicly accessible. Email fulfils all those criteria quite well,
and any substitute would have to do all those things at least as
well.
Yes. Lots of companies no longer want to do email, so you have to
fill out a form on their website. And if you forget to cut and
paste, you don't have a copy of that message. They'll send you email
in response, but they don't want you using the email address. It is
weird, with email I can show the progression of something.
Until some months ago, I was a customer of one US-based company.
Then, my bank card expired, and I was ought to update the
details on their website.

... Except, for some reason or another, their website decided to
not let me log in.

Generally, I'm trying to be a good user and inform the other
party of any issues I'm having with their service. I'd do it in
this case, too -- were the problem reporting form not requiring
me to log in first. At which point I'd try email instead.

Well, apparently when they say their From: mailboxes are not
being read, they really mean it.

And while my account there was automatically deleted as the
result, I still technically owe them 2 USD or so. (Not that
there's no US-based company that owes me about the same amount.)

There was also the phone call option, but I don't suppose I
should be paying international call fee just to be able to pay
some company that can't handle some spam hitting their inboxes?
Post by Michael Black
It's the same thing with comments on websites, I may forget to cut
and paste to keep a copy locally (or sometimes things crash so I lose
what I've already typed in). But I have most of the messages I've
posted to usenet since 1996, the ones lost because I was careless.
It's really too bulky to be useful, but if I really want to know what
I said 20 years ago, I can dig it up. Not so with comments on a
website.
I can easily imagine a proxy that would store all the passing
POST request data somewhere. Oh, well, now that everyone has
gone HTTPS it's no longer possible...

Or is it not? Perhaps some hacking upon 'sslstrip' may do that?

Alternatively, and assuming Firefox, I guess one can craft some
Greasemonkey script to copy all the forms being submitted to a
local HTTP server.

Also, for the sites providing some form of API, it's possible to
use a specialized client instead of a generic Web browser. For
example, I've participated in many a Wikimedia discussion not
leaving the comforting embrace of my Emacs. (Not unlike how
I participate in Usenet discussions with that same Emacs.) And
of course, all my comments ended up being stored locally, too.

(This issue bothers me to, so I'd be looking for a solution.)
Post by Michael Black
It's sadly amusing that commerce has abused email (even companies
where I've signed up to get their email, they often send way more
than is fair, and it's not like it's vital), let alone outright
spammers, but commerce now wants to do away with email, or at least
avoid receiving it.
And shame on them.
--
FSF associate member #7257 np. One Light -- Radiarc 8916 3013 B6A0 230E 334A
Computer Nerd Kev
2017-07-15 05:51:00 UTC
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Post by Ivan Shmakov
Post by Michael Black
Yes. Lots of companies no longer want to do email, so you have to
fill out a form on their website. And if you forget to cut and
paste, you don't have a copy of that message. They'll send you email
in response, but they don't want you using the email address. It is
weird, with email I can show the progression of something.
Until some months ago, I was a customer of one US-based company.
Then, my bank card expired, and I was ought to update the
details on their website.
... Except, for some reason or another, their website decided to
not let me log in.
Generally, I'm trying to be a good user and inform the other
party of any issues I'm having with their service. I'd do it in
this case, too -- were the problem reporting form not requiring
me to log in first. At which point I'd try email instead.
Well, apparently when they say their From: mailboxes are not
being read, they really mean it.
And while my account there was automatically deleted as the
result, I still technically owe them 2 USD or so. (Not that
there's no US-based company that owes me about the same amount.)
There was also the phone call option, but I don't suppose I
should be paying international call fee just to be able to pay
some company that can't handle some spam hitting their inboxes?
A year or so ago I embarked upon notifying the Australian postal
service of some issues in their newly updated international postage
system. The website wouldn't let me contact them without registering
an account, no Email address was stated anywhere, and I didn't want
to spend half an hour on hold before dictating my page full of text
over the phone.

In the end I sent them a letter. However after affixing a $1 stamp
to the front of the envelope, I was left wondering who had really
won...
Post by Ivan Shmakov
Post by Michael Black
It's the same thing with comments on websites, I may forget to cut
and paste to keep a copy locally (or sometimes things crash so I lose
what I've already typed in). But I have most of the messages I've
posted to usenet since 1996, the ones lost because I was careless.
It's really too bulky to be useful, but if I really want to know what
I said 20 years ago, I can dig it up. Not so with comments on a
website.
I can easily imagine a proxy that would store all the passing
POST request data somewhere. Oh, well, now that everyone has
gone HTTPS it's no longer possible...
Or is it not? Perhaps some hacking upon 'sslstrip' may do that?
Alternatively, and assuming Firefox, I guess one can craft some
Greasemonkey script to copy all the forms being submitted to a
local HTTP server.
Good ideas, I'd be keen to set up a solution like that myself if it
existed. Though I avoid such web forms as best I can anyway.
--
__ __
#_ < |\| |< _#
Ivan Shmakov
2017-07-15 06:24:51 UTC
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[...]
In the end I sent them a letter. However after affixing a $1 stamp to
the front of the envelope, I was left wondering who had really won...
The society. (Hopefully.)

It's not unlike arguing on Internet fora: it's not quite about
convincing those you argue with (as that rarely happens), but
instead about convincing those reading these discussions while
remaining largely invisible to the active participants.
(Sometimes reading these threads years later, mind you.)
Post by Michael Black
It's the same thing with comments on websites, I may forget to cut
and paste to keep a copy locally (or sometimes things crash so I
lose what I've already typed in). But I have most of the messages
I've posted to usenet since 1996, the ones lost because I was
careless. It's really too bulky to be useful, but if I really want
to know what I said 20 years ago, I can dig it up. Not so with
comments on a website.
I can easily imagine a proxy that would store all the passing POST
request data somewhere. Oh, well, now that everyone has gone HTTPS
it's no longer possible...
Or is it not? Perhaps some hacking upon 'sslstrip' may do that?
Alternatively, and assuming Firefox, I guess one can craft some
Greasemonkey script to copy all the forms being submitted to a local
HTTP server.
Good ideas, I'd be keen to set up a solution like that myself if it
existed.
I'm currently working on something along the lines of the first
one. (I also want that proxy to save the text I /read./)
Slowly working, that is. As in, I've recently finished some
really useful (to me) piece of software, and it only took me
three-something months to code. And that's 500 LoC overall.
Though I avoid such web forms as best I can anyway.
I avoid them /precisely/ because of all the burden of
maintaining some form of a local archive. Well, that and also
that many such services do not seem to be compatible with Lynx.

I don't suppose anything would beat an API-based solution,
however. Emacs, being a programming language implementation and
all that, could be extended to interface practically anything,
but it surely would be possible to write glue to make other
editors, newsreaders, etc. to work with a given site.

For instance, there can be an utility to use a MediaWiki-based
site as if it were a VCS: $ mw update, $ vim, $ mw commit.

Or an NNTP interface for a Web forum.
--
FSF associate member #7257 58F8 0F47 53F5 2EB2 F6A5 8916 3013 B6A0 230E 334A
Larry Sheldon
2017-07-16 01:46:06 UTC
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The discussion about "giving up" email (or any human-based communication
channel) is a waste of valuable 0 bits.

Use a technique the allows using passwords that can be calculated in a
human mind, knowing the technique, the current date and time, the name
of site being accessed and a few other things not known to anybody?

Tough. Use the one we tell you to use from the formula given, you may
never use one you have used before, and if we find that you are using
one that has been used before, we will change it for you (use your
birth-date to gain access).

The birth-date one really tickles me. In case you have not fallen prey
to the New And Improved Medical System, let me give you the short-form
of the drill: At every interaction you will be required to recite your
birth-date IN MM-DD-YYYY format. Most interactions will occur in a
high-noise environment and will involve hearing-impaired,
not-native-language speakers.

Your mother is the only human in creation that MIGHT not know your
birth-date.

When you register at their replacement-for-useful-communications
facility, you may be offered a choice for communication vehicle (yes, it
IS a trap, there is no choice in the old sense of the word).

The first apparent choice is "Telephone" and since I have always gotten
on well with voice communication, that was my choice.

Turns out, that choice selects a robot that calls the telephone number
of record for you and waits for you to answer and speak. (It is
apparently measuring your tolerance for control, because eventually,
after several calls, it will start playback of its opening move just as
you are hanging up. When (If) you engage the robot it will enter a
dialog to determine if you can be trained and trusted, ending eventually
in the required Recitation Of Your Birth-Date. Following which you will
be connected to another robot's transmit buss where you will one of
several messages, such as one instructing you to call an 800 number
between the hours of six A. M. and [hour that just ended], East Coast time.

The next choice is "E-Mail" which is essentially the same choice as
"Telephone" except the first parry will be a content-free email message
directing you to the same robots as above.

I am afraid to engage the third choice.
--
quis custodiet ipsos custodes?
-- Juvenal
Larry Sheldon
2017-07-16 04:33:15 UTC
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On 7/15/2017 20:46, Larry Sheldon wrote (with the more egregious errors
Post by Larry Sheldon
The discussion about "giving up" email (or any human-based communication
channel) is a waste of valuable 0 bits.
Do you use a technique the allows using passwords that can be calculated in a
human mind, knowing the technique, the current date and time, the name
of site being accessed and a few other things not known to anybody else?
Tough. Use the one we tell you to use from the formula given, you may
never use one you have used before, and if we find that you are using
one that has been used before, we will change it for you (use your
birth-date to gain access).
The birth-date one really tickles me. In case you have not fallen prey
to the New And Improved Medical System, let me give you the short-form
of the drill: At every interaction you will be required to recite your
birth-date IN MM-DD-YYYY format. Most interactions will occur in a
high-noise environment and will involve hearing-impaired,
not-native-language speakers.
Your mother is the only human in creation that MIGHT not know your
birth-date.
When you register at their replacement-for-useful-communications
facility, you may be offered a choice for communication vehicle (yes, it
IS a trap, there is no choice in the old sense of the word).
The first apparent choice is "Telephone" and since I have always gotten
on well with voice communication, that was my choice.
Turns out, that choice selects a robot that calls the telephone number
of record for you and waits for you to answer and speak (My habit is to take the phone off-hook, listen for a few seconds, then say "hello" once). (It is
apparently measuring your tolerance for control, because eventually,
after several calls, it will start playback of its opening move just as
you are hanging up. When (If) you engage the robot it will enter a
dialog to determine if you can be trained and trusted, ending eventually
in the required Recitation Of Your Birth-Date. Following which you will
be connected to another robot's transmit buss where you will hear one of
several messages, such as one instructing you to call an 800 number
between the hours of six A. M. and [hour that just ended], East Coast time.
The next choice is "E-Mail" which is essentially the same choice as
"Telephone" except the first parry will be a content-free email message
directing you to the same robots as above.
I am afraid to engage the third choice.
--
quis custodiet ipsos custodes?
-- Juvenal
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