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secure webmail

Posted on 2004-08-10
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2008-02-07
I use  an anonymous proxy for increased privacy whilst surfing. The people at the proxy say use any webmail and you'll remain private. Maybe. However i'm having problems choosing a secure webmail. Are there any decent free ones? Or more to the point reliable? If there aren't and they can go down at any minute and bombard you with advertising please let me know, as that would just be wasting my time. However if there are decent free ones....

These are the kinds of things I'd like  and would like advise or comments

1) I'm kicking myself as I saw an ad a while back for a webmail provider which claimed when you delete an email they erase it to DOD standard on their server. Now that is a commitment to privacy! Its that sort of thiing I'm looking for.

2) I may have given up on this idea but I'll give it a whirl. You email a person from say jimikf@jimkf.com and it is remailed as being from say tony@tony345.com, they can then reply to tony@tony345.com and it gets remailed back to jimkf@jimkf.com. What is crucial though is that they can start a new email and send it to tony@tony345.com and it arrives at jimkf@jimkf.com. Now you may think, oh you could achieve that with just email forwarding. yes, but these poeple are not committed to privacy . I want somebody who is committed to privacy. If my privacy was blown at any point it wouldn't be the end of the world at all  but I am keen on privacy and  want to deal with those committed to it as well.

Any advice?
Question by:JimKF
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LVL 31

Assisted Solution

rid earned 200 total points
ID: 11764285
Email was not designed with high security in view. The thing you describe sounds awfully like spoofing your address and that's not in the standards for internet e-mail. What's wrong with forwarding and what do you mean with "these people" in this context? If a server is set up properly for forwarding you can choose not to leave a copy of the mail in the account that does the forwarding (so to speak). If you don't trust your ISP with e-mail forwarding and related security issues, do you trust them with anything?
LVL 34

Accepted Solution

PsiCop earned 200 total points
ID: 11767113
1) Yeah, right. Do they go back and hunt it down on all their backup tapes? Do they erase all their logs? Claims like that are marketing fluff, plain and simple. You want *relatively* secure E-Mail storage where you can be *sure* that your E-Mail archive remains private? Fine, go get a decent server-class box, set up Linux, Solaris, whatever; install sendmail; install Pine or Emacs or whatever for a mail client; register your own Domain name and get it all set up in DNS. Now YOU control the E-Mail. Now you can control the records of when you login, logout, send E-mail, etc. Now you can choose to log or not log who E-Mail is sent to, who it is received from, when these things occur, etc. Now you control the archiving and retention of your E-Mail. Want to make sure no one else can read your E-Mail archive? Take your backup tapes, put 'em in a barrel, pour in some gas, light it. Then throw in the hard drives from the server.

Of course, none of that prevents the people to whom you sent the E-Mail from retaining the E-Mail, plus a record of when it was received and from where. But you can be darn sure no one is going to read YOUR copy of it, or your logs concerning it.

Anything else is marketing fluff. Meaningless marketing fluff at that. You want control over the logging and retention of your E-Mail, then you operate your own mailserver, and you can exert partial control.

2) As /RID says, this sounds suspiciously like address spoofing. And it'll only fool rubes. Anyone who knows how to read E-Mail headers and can examine the receiving host's logs is not going to be more than slightly annoyed by it. Internet (e.g. SMTP) E-Mail is NOT designed for privacy - its designed to efficiently move electronic messages from Point A to Point B with a modest degree of reliability. If you think you *really* can hide, you're wrong. If someone wants to, they'll likely find you.

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