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[ NNSquad ] Re: The Ghost Messages of Yahoo's Recycled IDs

The comments in the linked article from Eva Galperin at EFF - "I think Yahoo should not have recycled accounts in the first place. They should stop immediately." - are silly.  If I move, the post office will forward my mail for at most a year; after that, the new owner will usually get my mail.  (I bought my house 13 years ago, from someone who bought it about 5 years before that.  Not only do I sometimes get mail for the owner before the previous owner, but at one point a couple of years back I got a personal visit from the state tax authorities who were looking for that two-back owner - his business owed taxes.)  Phone numbers have always been recycled - in crowded area codes, often quite rapidly.  Domain names get re-assigned, and effectively along with them large numbers of email addresses.  Business names get reused.

It's not a certainty that Yahoo will still be around in 5 years.  When the domain name gets sold, does the EFF claim that the new buyer should somehow be prohibited from assigning any email name that used to be at the current yahoo.com?

Yahoo's Require-Recipient-Valid-Since is actually a very nice idea - and could well be used more broadly than just for account confirmations.  Almost all mail messages to previous owners of an account will come from some sender's address book.  If a couple of the leading MUA's were to store, in their address books, when the entry was created, and then use that to attach a Require-Recipient-Valid-Since header to mail to that address, mail destined for recycled accounts would usually be returned.  Yes, there are technical issues - e.g., what to do with mail sent to multiple recipients; and a better implementation would embed this in MTA's, not MUA's, so that mail destined for new recipients wouldn't even be sent.  Then again, if all mail were encrypted, this would be a non-issue as well, as the new mail account holder wouldn't have the old holder's keys.  But even a simple implementation would provide better handling of recycled email addresses than we've lived with for all kinds of other personal destination designators, to make up a (horrible) phrase.

                                                        -- Jerry

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