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Internet Email Services Association ( wasRE: Why do so few mail providerssupport Port 587?)

  • From: Michael.Dillon
  • Date: Fri Feb 25 12:15:30 2005

>  I'll agree with you on one thing, though -- the whole
> business of port 587 is a bit silly overall...why can't the same
> authentication schemes being bandied about for 587 be applied to 25,
> thus negating the need for another port just for mail injection?

Because that would require providers to act like professionals,
join an Internet Mail Services Association, agree on policies
for mail exchange, and require mail peering agreements in
order to enable port 25 access to anyone.

Unfortunately, providers seem to prefer unilateral
heavy-handed behavior rather than acting professional.
They prefer working out solutions in isolation or in 
small closed cabals working in secret in backrooms rather
than working open to public scrutiny in an association.
They prefer to operate in an environment in which
there are no agreed policies for Internet email 
exchange rather than having a viable Internet email
system in which everyone works together to add value
to the users. They prefer to play secret games with
blacklists, bayesian filters, hodge-podges tacked onto
the Internet's DNS systems, and other antisocial behaviors
rather than openly saying that people must meet certain
standards in order to *SEND* email.

The Internet email architecture is based on something
called *SIMPLE* mail transport protocol which its creator
never intended to last for so long. It is a flat architecture
and in common with other flat architectures it does not
scale. If flat architectures did scale on the Internet, 
then everyone with a dialup would be running BGP and 
announcing their /32 IPv4 route. 

There is no good reason why the large email providers,
most of whom are network operators, do not form an open
Internet Mail Services Association to hammer out the 
details of a new email services architecture so that 
everyone can sing from the same hymnbook and so that
email just works, seamlessly, everywhere. I strongly
suspect that a new architecture will have fewer weak 
points that can be exploited by spammers but spam is
really a secondary problem. The real problem is that
the IETF protocol development process is not the right
place for email service operators to work out operational
frameworks and policies.

This is an area where the United Nations and the ITU
can bring about *REAL* improvements to the Internet and
I hope that the existence of the WSIS will lead to this.
No, I do *NOT* support the ITU taking on a governance role
over the Internet. What I do support is for the companies
in this industry to wake up and smell the coffee. Nature
abhors a vacuum. Currently we have collectively created
a vacuum which the UN and ITU *WILL* fill if we don't fill
it first.

--Michael Dillon