Dan Kaminsky

Ben Scott mailvortex at gmail.com
Wed Aug 5 20:36:47 CDT 2009

On Wed, Aug 5, 2009 at 8:40 PM, James R.
Cutler<james.cutler at consultant.com> wrote:
>>> (2) Saying "type our name into $SERVICE", where $SERVICE is some
>>> popular website that most people trust (like Facebook or whatever),
>>> and has come up with a workable system for disambiguation.
> I can only hope that those who believe in "disambiguation" of mailing
> addresses, electronic or otherwise, will be sorely disappointed.

  I'm not suggesting the elimination of email addresses any more than
I'm suggesting the elimination of DNS.

  I'm asserting that people find it easier to use methods other than
transcription to share email addresses, and that society gravitates
towards such methods.

> ... And, I really want whitehouse.gov, not whitehouse.com,
> even though you could only guess my reason.

  Thanks for proving my point for me.  :)

  Why do you think <whitehouse.com> exists and is what it is?  Why is
it such a well-known example?  I'm guessing it's because people
frequently end up at the wrong website.

  Computers like using domain names, and are good at it.  People
don't, and aren't.  It seems reasonable that computers will continue
using domain names, while people continue to migrate to layered

  I'm honestly stumped why people are having such a hard time speaking
to this.  Instead I keep getting told that DNS is more precise than
Google.  (Or email addresses are more precise than human names.
Whatever.)  Have I ever said otherwise?  Indeed, my whole premise
*depends* on the fact that DNS is absolutely precise while people are
generally rather imprecise in their communications.

  The one counter-argument that actually speaks to my point -- that I
can think of -- would be that computers are really lousy at
deciphering human ambiguity.  Which is true enough.  But I think
Google, Facebook, et. al., have demonstrated that it's not impossible
to program a computer to deal with human ambiguity, provided you have
enough computrons and limit the scope.

  Okay, one more counter-argument: To be useful, such services
generally have to be popular.  To become and remain popular, such
services generally have to be widely available.  Widely available
services tend to get abused by spammers.  Restricting service to block
spammers is generally antithetical to making it widely available.
Effective technological solutions are hard to find; political/economic
solutions are expensive.

-- Ben

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