[Dshield] [OT] crippled POP3 service: is this legal?

Brian Dessent brian at dessent.net
Sat Aug 2 20:48:17 GMT 2003

Andre Costa wrote:

> this is a little OT, but I thought that you guys might want to share
> your experiences/opinions. If not, please apologize.
> It looks like one of the major Brazilian ISPs modified POP3 behavior by
> making RETR command also DELETE msgs. In other words: if there's only 1
> msg on my mbox, I login, RETR msg 1, quit and login back again, mailbox
> is empty (I have a telnet session dump that shows exactly this, in case
> anyone wants to take a look).
> According to ISP support, you can have access to the "extra feature" of
> "sticky(?) messages" -- but you have to pay more for it. AFAICS this
> "extra feature" is exactly standard POP3 behavior which IMHO I should be
> getting in the first place since I subscribed to POP service.
> Am I tripping here? Is this acceptable behavior? What's your opinion on
> this?

In my opinion it's sketchy but far from illegal.  You could work around
it with a program like fetchmail that would periodically empty the POP3
drop box into a local mail spool that you could then point your
mailreader to, possibly with the addition of a local pop/imap server.

I find that you are much better off handling email yourself anyway. 
Register a domain name ($9/yr with godaddy) and then get a cheap email
provider that lets you set the options that -you- want, such as
SpamAssassin, etc.  You will get real storage space, the freedom to
change providers at any point without changing the email address, and in
general much greater control.  You'd also be able to access your mail
over SSL and avoid sending your password in cleartext over the internet
(which is the case with POP3 and IMAP.)  You shouldn't have to pay much
for this either, a few dollars a month buys a lot.

Or, use a quality webmail provider like fastmail.fm, etc.


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