Comments on 2017-03-18 Email is the New Snail Mail

What is the difference between Email and a messenger except for the content? Isn’t Email much more versatile? Isn’t it just like being able to send a WhatsApp to Threema and vice versa?

– Stefan 2017-03-19 16:16 UTC

Email is insecure in transit unless you use end to end encryption. The popular messengers all added end to end encryption.

– Alex Schroeder 2017-03-19 16:37 UTC

So it’s a security issue? I’d say that the vast majority of the users of a messenger do not care about security. Otherwise WhatsApp would never have become that popular.

My guess is rather that messengers have become so popular because of the way conversations are displayed. While mails are displayed more or less chronologically, messengers achieve a more natural feeling to a conversation. Furthermore, mails still feel more letter like. This demands a more formal style than the short messenger messages.

– Stefan 2017-03-19 18:40 UTC

Oh, absolutely. My only argument is that there is no point adding encryption to mail anymore because nobody wants to read it anyway.

– AlexSchroeder 2017-03-19 21:30 UTC

Oh, and another link needs to be here: WhatsApp cofounder: Sorry developers, no API for you. He’s trying to avoid the “WhatsApp is full of spam and bills” trap. Yay!

Perhaps that means companies wanting to send secure email might want to invest in encryption. But what they are doing instead is sending emails and telling you that you can pick up the actual “mail” in your “inbox” which lives on their website. Thus, they are in fact leveraging HTTPS to secure their “email” in transit.

– Alex Schroeder 2017-03-20 07:45 UTC

xkcd: Chat Systems

– Alex Schroeder 2017-03-20 08:02 UTC

There is also the property of the email system that it’s the internet’s ultimate method of authentication/identification. If I can access your email, I can reset all of your passwords, use 2FA, etc. I’ve got a feeling, as time goes on, email accounts will turn into largely unused “master accounts” and providers will have a lot of responsibility to maintain a secure service. You could argue we’re at this point already.

– Tom 2017-03-22 18:12 UTC

Indeed. “My 2FA is the forgot my password link.”

– Alex Schroeder 2017-03-23 12:14 UTC

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