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Re: Comments on draft-duerst-mailto-bis-04.txt, please

From: Al Gilman <Alfred.S.Gilman@IEEE.org>
Date: Sun, 6 Jan 2008 12:39:46 -0500
Message-Id: <p06110409c3a6c06b4615@[]>
To: John Cowan <cowan@ccil.org>, Martin Duerst <duerst@it.aoyama.ac.jp>
Cc: uri@w3.org, Larry Masinter <LMM@acm.org>, jwz@jwz.org

At 2:36 AM -0500 6 01 2008, John Cowan wrote:
>Martin Duerst scripsit:
>>  In particular, the current spec for mailto:, RFC 2368, contains
>>  some advice against using a bcc field in a mailto: URI, but this
>>  doesn't seem to be followed, and we were unable to find any reason,
>>  so we removed it. Comments on this (both positive and negative,
>>  if possible with reasons) would be appreciated.
>The whole point of bcc: is to keep certain recipients secret,
>but if they are exposed in the mailto: URL, they are hardly
>a secret any more, eh?

Not really. the *main* point of a Bcc: is to get the Bcc:
addressee(s) a copy of the information. Concealing this fact is

It is true that the mailgram once sent does not inform the Cc:
recipients that the Bcc: recipients have also received copies. This
may be to curtail clutter from thoughtless use of reply-all or it may
actually be important to conceal this information.

In any case, the URL discloses the Bcc: recipients to the person
*sending* the mail and the Bcc: recipient identities were never
intended to be secret from the originator of the RFC-2821/22 mail

The recipients of the Mailgram don't get a copy of the URI that
was used to initialize the Mail-sending session.  Yes, it's on the
Web and can most likely be discovered by a well-crafted search.

There are plenty of uses for Bcc: where the identity of the
concealed recipients is not that big a secret.

It could be worth a note in "Security Considerations" that leaving
a mailto: URI on the public Web discloses the Bcc: recipients'
email addresses for spammer harvesting; that there is not much
secrecy to the address once let lose in a URI in a hypertext

But the URI binds those addresses to a message template, not
a message.  The message itself does not offer a trace-back to
the URI.  There's no Referrer in a mailgram.


>John Cowan   cowan@ccil.org    http://ccil.org/~cowan
>The known is finite, the unknown infinite; intellectually we stand
>on an islet in the midst of an illimitable ocean of inexplicability.
>Our business in every generation is to reclaim a little more land,
>to add something to the extent and the solidity of our possessions.
>         --Thomas Henry Huxley
Received on Sunday, 6 January 2008 17:40:01 UTC

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