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                       |_|    ...2020-10-15 |___/ 

The state of E-Mail in 2020: A disaster slowly unfolding

Kafkaesque, the word to describe something reminiscent of the opressive or nightmarish qualities of Franz Kafka's fictional world. The Trial comes to mind, a story about a man who is arrested and prosecuted on charges he is not allowed to know. Just read that someone got their account disabled, they complained, and was simply told that the account had "violated the terms of service", but it was not specified, and indeed, impossible for them, to find out on what grounds the account had been disabled.

The libertarian in me has no issue with this,

because this person had an account for a service provided by a private company, and if they wanted to make a policy that "every 3 hours, we will disable a random account because we want to." then in principle, I think they should have that right, it's a free market, right? People can just chose not to use them, and should be responsible for their own data, and ensure access to their own services anyway, right !? Right?!

It's not so simple

Nobody "owns email" per se, and in principle, every person is free to set up their own mail server, just like ever person is free to set up their own mail box. But, even ignoring the technical difficulties, this is not true, and there are a few reasons. First of all, most ISPs have blocked their customers from sending traffic with a port 25 as the destination port, effectively saying "you're not allowed to use your own Internet connection to send E-Mail". What's worse is, most ISPs are now growing ignorant of the fact that some of their customers are regular people who need to send email, and start arguing that sending email is a "business" thing, so you need a super- expensive "business" subscription to even get access to their relay server. IP addresses is another problem, there are not enough of them, and IPv6 is still not here, most people cannot even get one if they knew to ask for it, and instead are forced behind CGNAT (Carrier-Grade NAT, basically it means that your computer is not actually on The Internet, it's just on a big LAN that your ISP hosts, and then it's mercifully allowed to talk to a gateway computer provided by your ISP which IS on The Internet and will forward (some) traffic between you and computers outside your IPSs LAN, and yes, this should be illegal, but they're even selling it as a security improvement!). I digress.

The short version of this story is

You're not guaranteed the ability to host your own, functioning E-Mail server on your own private hardware, sitting on your own property. This wouldn't be an issue if E-Mail were consistently used for its intended purpose of sending pictures of cats and helping Nigerian Princes out with their money trouble. But these days, E-Mail are being used for Serious Business (TM). Just think for a moment, how absolutely thoroughly fcked you'd be if last time you checked your E-Mail was the _LAST_TIME_ you got into that account. Any loose ends you wished you had had time to tie up? Maybe not right this moment, but would this have been true your whole life, never a single moment when access to that E-Mail account was real damn important? I bet. I digress, again, because I'm pissed off by this, and have been so for so long. Points 1. You're not legally entitled to host your own E-Mail service (your ISP is not required to let you to do this, you're in their mercy). 2. You're not legally entitled to an E-Mail account at any third party, nobody has to give you one if they don't feel like it, and you have no legal right to demand it re-instated if they decide they are no longer entertained by the idea of you having it. 3. Access to E-Mail is not considered a basic right. 4. The alternatives to E-Mail are mostly proprietary and all see limited use.

This must change, we cannot allow such an important thing to be as

unregulated as it is.. It's strange is it not? There are laws against reading other peoples E-Mail messages, and there are laws against sending spam, so there is some recognition that E-Mail is Serious Business (TM), and yet, when it comes to ensuring the actual access, and continued access to an E-Mail account, it's the wild fcking west?

Imagine if suddenly one day, (in the 90s when people actually got

snailmail and thus cared) you found that you couldn't actually just have a mail box anymore, but had to either pay some company to collect (and maybe, maybe not, read) your mail (for your own safety, of course), or rely on the goodwill of some other giant corporation who couldn't give less of a damn about you.. You'd be pretty freaked out if, when you did go out and plant a pole with a mailbox, you found that the postal service ignored you because, well, they felt like it. Laws (to be made) 1. Every citizen has the right to a personal E-Mail account, this account can not be closed, changed, disabled or otherwise blocked, without a person actually taking the time to review the reasons, and write an explaination of the decision. 2. There must be an impartial instance to whom a citizen can complain if they disagree with the decision that their account be disabled. 3. Every citizen has the right to send and receive E-Mail using their Internet connection, an ISP must only block this in specific instances of abuse, and must justify and document the reasons, and there must be an impartial instance to which such decisions can be challenged by the citizen.

Rant over, it's too late, we fcked The Internet

up for good and there's no way back.