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[liberationtech] [SPAM:####] Re: Decentralization

Alberto Cammozzo ac+lists at
Wed Feb 8 05:06:09 PST 2017

Richard, you are right: maintaining email servers requires some skill
and has a cost.
Gmail does this reliably and is attractive for most non-technical users.

But now imagine this:
Your favourite snail-mail service offers your university paper letters
delivery, but at these conditions:
1) being authorized to open the envelope you send
2) reading the letter looking for keywords
3) attaching targeted advertising to your letter, according to keywords
4) build and keep a profile of you and your correspondents network
5) eventually deliver the letter along with advertising
6) deliver targeted advertising in envelopes directed to you
Would your university accept, even in front of major savings? I don't
think so.
Despite being free, attractive and convenient this would be illegal in
most countries (in Italy, where I live, secrecy of correspondence is
even a constitutional provision).
But, inexplicably, this is pretty much what we accept without hesitation
with Gmail and most free messaging services.
And still, secrecy of paper correspondence is socially required and
legally protected.

Building a decentralized, reliable, secure, private, open and cheap (if
not free) infrastructure for delivering and preserving emails at least
as well as Gmail does is something we should have.
By infrastructure I mean something like railways, telephone, power
lines, roads, bridges, Internet connectivity: in certain cases they
should or may be privately held, but with a major public commitment.
Their main goal is providing a public interest service, build an
enabling environment for social and economic life, not only being a
business opportunity.
And of course I'm not saying we should have national Gmails!
I think something more similar to and, but at least
as attractive and usable as Google services.
See also the paper by Aymeric Vitte in this thread.



On 07/02/2017 16:10, Richard Brooks wrote:
> On the other hand, why are they using gmail?
> Our university outsourced email to Google. They
> software up to date, handle the security, provide
> convenient cloud access (I personally dislike
> their GUIs),  etc. For our university, this decision
> probably did make our email traffic more secure
> as well.
> I am not wild about the decision our university
> made, but for most users using Gmail is probably
> the more reasonable and secure choice. Not the
> choice that I would make for myself. Being spied
> on bothers me.
> But, if you want to have the broad base of users
> move elsewhere, you need to address the clear
> advantages that Gmail provides.
> Political, social, and economics arguments will not
> convince most people.
> On 02/07/2017 07:06 AM, Andrés Pacheco wrote:
>> Signore Camozzo hit the nail on the head, twice. So then I have to draw the proper conclusion...
>> 1. We need concerted action to set non-proprietary communication standards at the application level, much like the TCP-IP Protocols did for the lower layer(s)
>> 2. This action HAS to be POLITICAL, since it's not just a matter of devising technical standards, but to have them ADOPTED by the majority. We need the 75% of his email correspondents to not use proprietary email platforms (and so forth and so on, and including me and this email itself!)
>> Ergo, it is at best naive trying to separate "Technology" from "Politics:" all Technology is Political, and ignoring this only rubber stamps the technology of the proprietary powers that be.
>> Not by chance it's Technology companies at the top of the "most valuable company of the world" food chain: Google and Apple. If that's not a political statement, then what is? Where is "the swamp?"
>> Regards | Saludos,
>> Andrés Leopoldo Pacheco Sanfuentes
>> <alps at>
>>> On Feb 7, 2017, at 5:34 AM, Alberto Cammozzo <ac+lists at> wrote:
>>> So far so good, but what is it all for? ~75% of my email correspondents
>>> use Gmail ...
>>> You cant decentralize alone...
>>> We need to fix this quickly or the information revolution will be lost
>>> and archived as an annex of the industrial revolution.


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