Iterative innovation in Internet email is occurring almost continuously as features are demanded by corporate users. In recent times, this has meant the addition of return receipts (from both MTAs and MUAs) and digital signatures/encryption. Standard headers for these activities have been registered, and, as we saw in Chapter 5, OpenPGP and S/MIME, an encryption and signature standard is in progress. This is made possible because of the Internet’s wonderfully sloppy standards approach, which gives innovation breathing room during and after the standards process. OpenPGP and S/MIME can develop in parallel while still participating in the standards process, for example.

In the short term, the need for encrypted email will still conflict with governments’ desire to control the spread of this technology.

Although this book has focused on Internet email standards, many commercial companies are producing proprietary messaging systems, and many corporations use these products. Any attempt to look into the future has to take these systems into account. Fortunately, this has been made easier in recent years by wide vendor adoption of Internet standards. The trend is for proprietary systems (e.g., Microsoft Exchange or IBM/Lotus ccMail) to migrate to Internet standards compliance. This has been encouraged by the poor performance of most email system gateways: complete translation between mail system formats, especially in regard to the attachment of binary files, seems ...

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