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[ih] Some Questions over IPv4 Ownership

  I like the idea of an email forwarding service. Let's call it gmail.com.

Seriously, though, if some political body wants to provide its voters 
with portable email addresses, all it has to do is fund a forwarding 
service. They don't approach it that way because they'd rather pass the 
costs off to an evil capitalist.


On 10/14/2010 8:01 PM, Dave CROCKER wrote:
> On 10/14/2010 12:27 PM, David Sitman wrote:
>> This summer, the Ministry of Communications in Israel began 
>> considering a change
>> in ISP licensing which would require ISP's to support email address 
>> portability,
> ...
>>      this has caused us quite a bit of consternation.
> It should.
> Like many appealing ideas, it suffers upon careful consideration of 
> the changes needed to make it happen.
> Email addressing, registration and routing each have significant 
> design and operations differences from the original telephone system.  
> Jack's example of a forwarding mailbox hints at the difference:  The 
> address is tied to a mailbox. If you go elsewhere, the message still 
> has to route through the old place.  With telephone number 
> portability, the actual conversation does not "go through" the 
> original provider.  (There is a routing layer that is separate from 
> the conversation layer, which is not true for email.)
> In addition, note that the domain name portion of the email address is 
> a "name" of the provider.  That carries massive semantics, in contrast 
> with the neutrality of a telephone number.  One would think that 
> portability should not forever tie you to the name of your original 
> provider.
> Still, it's worth asking whether it is at all practical to create 
> email portability?
> The answer is not only yes, but... it's been done repeatedly and 
> without mandating anything:
>    Create an independent service that offers "portable" addresses.  
> Namely, it just is a forwarding service.(*)  (There are elaborations 
> of this design that might get clever with per-user domain names and MX 
> records, but I'll keep it simple. In reality, making the lookup 
> handling be helpfully different from the message transfer handling -- 
> that is, allowing the message communications to be "direct" -- is 
> actually quite difficult, at a per-user granularity, relative to the 
> current system.)
>    This is a value-add overlay to the existing service... with no 
> change to the existing service.  As long as the forwarding service 
> stays in business you can have your actual mailbox anywhere you want.
>    Note that going out of business is another point of difference 
> between the telephone number management system versus the email 
> portability idea.  The former doesn't have to worry about continuity 
> of service in the face of bankruptcy while the email one does.
> d/

Richard Bennett