Lodahl's blog: The Internet - not all success

28 November 2008

The Internet - not all success

Over the last 10-15 years the Internet has become every ones daily tool.
We use Facebook, twitter, we blog and search for news and knowledge. We can find a satellite overview of almost any place on earth, and even the star heaven can be browsed.

Most of it is progress, compared two the times before Internet

I've been involved with computers and IT for about two decades now. I remember when we first head about electronic mail (later it became e-mail). First as a new way to communicate internally, but soon also with external contacts. It took a few years before we could rely on this new kind of communication media because not all contacts ad access to an e-mail account and even if they had, we couldn't be sure that the account was actually used. Computers was not a common thing.

I can find very few things that are not so good. I'll try to explain one of the major mistakes when the Internet was (commonly) implemented in the early nineteens: The personal e-mail account. Well as a private person it's ok, but in professional life, it was a big big mistake.

The problem today in a large company is, that correspondence, whether it is outgoing, incoming or internal, is stored in individual databases or tables. E-mails belong to the owner of the mail account and not to the employer. Of cause, legally, it might belong to the company, but technically, it's individual stored in different places.

One of the consequences is additional expenses is, that companies are investing huge amounts of money in additional software. For two major reasons:

  • The law dictates that the company is responsible for storing and keeping any evidence intact
  • Our daily work dictates a need for transparency in communication

Doing that, is fighting symptoms.

Why don't we solve the original problem and redirect all in- and outgoing mail to one common or a few departmental mailboxes and suspend all personal mail account in the company ?

I don't know about you, but I think I'll need a few weeks to get used to it. But perhaps it could help?


Peter Algreen said...

Uhm... it's not that difficult to keep a copy of all incoming mail on the company's mailserver and let the employer do whatever they want with their MUA.

You could also just store all mail on the central server and let people interact with it through IMAP.

I'm sorry, but this is really a non-problem nowadays.

And of course, if you switch completely to departmental mailboxes and suspend all private mail-adresses, the whole issue of privacy arises. How do Alice send a mail to Bob, inquiring about authentication details for some service, without letting anyone else see the credentials? She and Bob would need a "private line" to communicate over - a private mailbox.

Klavs Klavsen said...

If you use a proper mailstorage format, such as maildir, then different users - is simply a matter of different folders where the mail is put, and only allow users to access mail via IMAP (where the mail stays on the server) - the problems you describe is none-existant IMHO.