[MlMt] Follow Up to Email Concerns

Glenn Parker glenn.parker at comcast.net
Sat Jul 3 13:53:35 EDT 2021

I wanted to quickly thank the users who offered patient and helpful responses to my challenge.

The use of email accounts as the foundation of “internet identity” seems to be the most significant issue, and I certainly understand the kind of disasters that can result from a compromised an email account.

I originally asked the question in response to reports about some organizations pursuing supposedly stronger (or at least less convenient) security than what most of us currently rely on. I’m not sure anyone really suggested a reason to make access to email more difficult than it already is, and there was some pointed criticism of Outlook’s proprietary authentication system.

This all boils down to a very hard and deeply philosophical problem. The question of, “Who are you?”, in its many forms has always been challenging, even before networked computers existed. Right now, I see a range of systems that address this need, some fairly solid like Google’s account validation, and others that are more susceptible to known attacks. Email has always been a sort of Swiss Army knife that can be hijacked for all sorts of needs. So here we are, still fumbling with email, a lingering relic of a time when the internet was a smaller and somewhat friendlier place. FWIW, my first internet email address was a “bang path” routed through “uunet”, and before that I was connected via a dialup account on BIX (the Byte Magazine Information eXchange service).

Anyway, thanks again.

Glenn P. Parker
glenn.parker at comcast.net

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