According to the BBC:
From March all Internet Service Providers (ISPs) will by law have to keep information about every e-mail sent or received in the UK for a year
Whilst I have yet to see the annoying cry of “Nineteen-eighty-four” appear all over the blogosphere, I’m sure it will by the end of the day. What intrigues me is how it will work, especially regarding web-mail accounts. Surely if I use a web-based email account somewhere outside the UK (or most probably the EU), and emailed people whose accounts are also outside the UK, then no ISP would be under any obligation to store the data.
Email is increasingly being replaced by other forms of communication, so if you really wanted to contact certain well-known unsavoury characters without the government finding out just instant message them.
I have posted before about the troubles that I am having with my email, but it seems to be getting worse. Lots of emails just aren’t making it into my Hotmail inbox these days, they don’t even make it into the spam box, they just disappear. What is particularly strange is that the missing emails are generally from university addresses rather than the throw-away email accounts that are more likely to be filled with spam.
So, the point of this post: if you email me and don’t get a response, I’m sorry but it’s probably because I never received it. Please try again, and CC in Bill Gates so he is aware of my plight.
I have always enjoyed checking to see if I have any post. Whilst it is usually a bill, the offer of a credit card, or the promotion of Sky TV, there is always the chance that it could be something far more interesting and exotic (such as the free book of stamps I received last week). When the Royal Mail’s did away with the second-post, I overcame the loss by checking my emails more often. Now, however, I find that my email is increasingly unreliable.
My email problems started back in March when Hotmail started only selectively sending my emails. Whilst this was seemingly a glitch with Hotmail, as a opposed to a problem with email as a communication medium, the seeds of doubt were sown. Since then my university has installed an email filtering system to deal with spam. Not a selective filtering system that is applied to those people who have a problem with spam, but across the board!
I now find that unless I spend twice as long constructing an email, e.g., filling it with excess text and making sure there are no mentions of banks or money (as a general rule my emails rarely mention viagra anyway), only half of my Hotmail emails reach their university destination without being quarantined for a few hours first. In addition a number of emails sent from university addresses to me are mysteriously disappearing. Yes, I could do away with my Hotmail account and use my university account, but that does not seem to be a practical solution. Most people (especially students) have one account that they already check regularly when they arrive at a university, forcing them to check another email address will merely mean communications sent to that email address are left for days or weeks on end before being retrieved.
Whilst I’m sure that some IT departments are more selective when they roll out spam guards, unless you are aware of the exact filtering systems in place at the email’s destination, you can never be sure whether your email has reached it’s destination or not. As such email, in its current state, is as good as dead. Unfortunately there doesn’t seem to be anything capable of replacing it, but if someone does come up with a solution there will be a lot of money to be made.
In the age of instant communication and gratification the traditional mail service is often the object of ridicule, so-called ‘snail mail’. As such we can forget how good a service it actually is: 36p for a first class letter anywhere in the UK is amazing when you think about it. My positive impression of the Royal Mail has been reinforced this morning with the arrival of my latest DVD from lovefilm.com (a service I highly recommend). Whilst the DVD was not sent until the 8th of May (i.e., today), it nonetheless managed to arrive on the 8th of May (at about 10.30am)!
I can’t say exactly what time the DVD was sent as the email informing me of its dispatch is currently missing-in-action.
On Tuesday I blogged that over the previous week at least two of the emails I had sent through hotmail had gone missing: all the recipient recieves is an email that is blank except for an advert at the bottom. Today I had two more hotmail emails go missing, or rather the same one twice, before the email finally successfully sent on the third occassion. I am currently checking that every email is sending….not particularly user-friendly.
I have no idea why the emails go missing (or rather why only some go missing when the majority travel without a problem from the same browser on the same computer). I would be interested in knowing if anyone else has been having a similar problem.
Despite recent difficulties in accessing my Hotmail account I have been, all-in-all, pleased with the service they have provided over the years and have no wish to move. However, over the last week Hotmail has stopped sending some of the long emails I have been diligently typing out, and instead just sent the recipients the adverts at the bottoms of the emails. Without checking the contents of the ‘sent’ email in the ‘sent’ folder, the first I hear of the problem is if the recipient takes the trouble to ask if there was meant to be more to the email than they received.
To my knowledge only two of my emails have gone missing in action (although I have not checked every sent email), however, what has also been lost is my trust in the service. Whilst the majority of my emails may be of little worth, some are extremely important, and if an important one goes missing it can really mess up my job.
For me the question is how can Hotmail get back my trust. I don’t want to leave, and I certainly don’t want to take a walk to the Google-mail side of the street, but I equally don’t want to spend the rest of my life checking the ‘sent’ folder.
A story on the BBC yesterday pointed out how an OAP had fallen for an internet scam saying they were to inherit millions of pounds…but obviously they had to send some cash first. Whilst the story is meant to tug on the heart strings, as they talk about an 80 year-old widow, the story I am reading is someone who threw away their money due to greed. Whilst we don’t know the full story, its hard to believe that a homeowner with £16,000 in the bank is so close to the poverty line that they saw the promises in these emails as the only way out. Greed didn’t pay, boo-bloody-hoo.
My favourite part of the story was the fact that a police officer who advised “anyone who receives a scam e-mail to contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111″, somehow I think the Crimestoppers line would quickly crash if someone called for every scam email…it would probably also cost the economy millions of pounds.