Cybertelecom
Cybertelecom
Federal Internet Law & Policy
An Educational Project

Email History

Dont be a FOOL; The Law is Not DIY

- Notes
- Internet
- Email Portability Proceeding
- History
- SPAM
- Phishing
- 602P
- USPS ECOM
- Timeline
- Telegraph


History
- Timeline
- Internet History
- - ARPANET 1960s
- - ARPANET 1970s
- - - TCP/IP
- - 1980s
- - - NSFNET
- - 1990s
- - - CIX
- - DNS
- - World Wide Web
- - Email
- - VoIP
- - Backbone
- - Internet2
- - Reference
- AT&T
- Telephone
- Telegraph
- Common Carrier
- Mergers
- FCC
- - Communications Act
- - Telecom Act
- - Hush a Phone
- - Computer Inquiries
- - Universal Service

Single Computer Email had existed from the earlier 1960s. One account references the Compatible Time-Sharing System, started in 1961, that permitted multiple users at MIT to share computer resources. The habit was established by the users of leaving messages for one another by drafting a message and saving it in a common directory with a file name such as "TO TOM." When Tom logged on, he would access the message. [Vleck] This was followed up in 1965 when Noel Morris and Tom Van Vleck at MIT created of the MAIL command which attached a message to an existing user's MAIL BOX file. [Morris] [Vleck] [Programming Staff Note 39pdf, Proposed Minimum System Documentation, circa 1965]

Licklider was talking to people about inter-computer mail as far back as 1968. Larry Roberts wrote a macro in 1969 that sent mail across the early ARPANet. [Vleck]The first RFC related to email was released in 1971 entitled the "Mail Box Protocol." It is not clear that this protocol was implemented.[Tomlinson]

Email was one of the first applications on the Internet and at the beginning accounted for most of its traffic. [Denning 4] In 1971, Ray Tomlinson of BBN modified the existing SNDMSG program to function over a network and send messages to remote computers, and decided to use the now ubiquitous"@" sign. [Tomlinson] [Nerds p 104] >Tomlinson's innovation was incorporated into BBN's TENEX operating system, so that hosts on the ARPANET running TENEX would now have this new network email program built in. [Abbate p 106]

"A 1973 ARPA report showed that three-quarters of all use was email." [Nerds p 109] [Vanity Fair] Larry Roberts is said to have been a big fan of email, which enabled him to work and communicate at any time of day, and to communicate directly with members of the ARPANET community without going through individual project supervisors. [Abbate p 108]

In 1973, at the Network Mail Meeting held at SRI-ARC, the group agreed to the use of the "@" sign in the email "TO" field. [RFC 469] This consensus overcame an interoperability issue, in that in some systems such as Multics, the "@" sign was a kill command. [Padlinksy] The group would also decide to use FTP to transfer the email files between hosts.[Abbate p 106]

"For example, in Multics, an operating system used by some in the 1970s, the "@" symbol indicated a kill line symbol.  This meant that any set of characters followed by the '@' sign were ignored by the Operating System.  Tomlinson however used the Tenex operating system built at BBN where the '@' sign wasn't used for anything and thus had decided to use it in the email address name to concatenate the user with the host server. " [Akkad]

The First Killer App of the ARPANet / Internet was not foreseen by the designers of the ARPANet / Internet.

Kleinrock: "They soon began to realize that there was a benefit [to joining the ARPANet. You see the biggest surprise about the ARPA network use was e-mail. It was an ad hoc add-on by BBN, and it just blossomed. And that sucked a lot of people in. It still is the biggest use of networks today." [Babbage 24]

Roberts 1967: " Message Service: In addition to computational network activities, a network can be used to handle interpersonal message transmissions. This type of service can also be used for educational services and conference activities. However, it is not an important motivation for a network of scientific computers." (emphasis added) ... " Once it is practical to utilize programs at remote locations, programmers will consider investigating what exists elsewhere. The savings possible from non-duplication of effort are enormous. A network would foster the "community" use of computers. Cooperative programming would be stimulated, and in particular fields or disciplines it will be possible to achieve a "critical mass" of talent by allowing geographically separated people to work effectively in interaction with a system." [Roberts 1967]

"In that sense, when the mail was being developed, nobody thought at the beginning it was going to be the smash hit that it was. People liked it, they thought it was nice, but nobody imagined that it was going to be the explosion of excitement and interest that it became. So that was a surprise to everybody, that it was as big a hit. And it became a major network use; it became perhaps the single largest network use, finally." [Frank Heart 1990]

"The popularity of email was not foreseen by the ARPANET's planners. Roberts had not included electronic mail in the original blueprint for the network... In creating the network's host software, the Network Working Group had focused on protocols for remote login and file transfer, not electronic mail... A draft of the Competition Report referred to email as 'unplanned, unanticipated, and mostly unsupported.' ... The rationale for building the network had focused on providing access to computers rather than to people. In justifying the need for a network, Roberts had compared the cost of using the network against the cost of sending computer data by other media, but he had not compared the cost of email against the costs of other means of communication. The paradigm of resource sharing may have blinded the ARPANET community to other potential uses of the network." [Abbate p 108]

See NPR Interview with Ray Tomlinson The Man Who Made You Put Away Your Pen, Nov 15, 2009  

USPS E-COM

Time to use the Way-Back Machine . The time is 1977. The country is in a tailspin. Saturday Night Live is singing carols about killing Gary Gilmore for Christmas. President Carter takes the Oval Office, and pardons Vietnam War draft evaders . The Clash releases their debut album. And the USPS is scared.

The USPS has learned about this thing called electronic mail and electronic transactions. It occurs to the USPS that if everyone were to use these electronic thingies, First Class mail would get wiped out and so would all that revenue.

While there is disagreement on how fast EMS and EFT may develop, it seems clear that two-thirds or more of current mainstream could be handled electronically, and that the volume of USPS-delivered mail is likely to peak in the next 10 years. Any decline in the volume of mail has significant implications for future postal rates, USPS service levels, and labor requirements.

A key policy issue requiring congressional attention is how USPS will participate in the provision of EMS services, both in the near term and in the longer term. If USPS does not attract and keep a sizable share of the so-called Generation II EMS market (electronic input and transmission with hardcopy output) and conventional (especially first-class) mail volume declines, USPS revenues will probably go down, with the likelihood of an unfavorable impact on rates and/or service levels. If USPS does develop a major role in the Generation II EMS market, and if Generation II EMS costs are low enough, the effect on USPS rates and/or service could be favorable. [USPS, p. ix, 1982]

After some careful strategic planning, the USPS launched an attack on email with a classic pincer movement: on the left flank, the USPS initiated its own email service known as E-COM on January 4, 1982; [USPS, p. 3 1982] [USPS 2008] on the right flank, the USPS considered banning all private email service.

"In the first half-year of its existence (January through June 1982), about 660,000 E-COM messages were sent. During July 1982, E-COM averaged about 172,000 messages weekly." [USPS, p. 3 1982]

E-COM was a simple concept. The USPS would set up a network where a message would originate electronically. It would then be sent to one of a handful of participating postal offices that had terminals, where it would be printed out.

After arriving at the serving Post Office, the mess ages were processed and sorted by ZIP Code, then printed on letter-size bond paper, folded, and seal ed in envelopes printed with a blue E-COM logo. Mailers were required to send a minimum of 200 messages per transmission. [USPS 2008]

The hard copy of the message would then be delivered to its destination - essentially in the same manner and with the same speed as first class mail. USPS launched this service in 1981. [ECPA 1985 Report p 45] [USPS, p. 3 1982 (stating that the service was initiated January 1982)]

Before E-COM could get off the ground, however, it was mired in controversy. [CATO] [USPS, p. 3 1982] The US Postal Commission, the Department of Justice, the Department of Commerce, private companies, and even the FCC, objected. The first objection was that it was against government policy for a government agency to compete with the private sector. [USPS p. 17 1982] Private commercial email services were nascent and promising, and did not think much of a government monopoly using its government bank role to pay for a competing email service. The FCC made a particularly interesting objection. The FCC said, "we have jurisdiction over all wireline and wireless services. That jurisdiction has been interpreted broadly. And there is no dispute that the transmission of a message over a communications network is communications, under the Communications Act, and under our jurisdiction." "Not only that," the FCC was heard to say, "but its common carriage." Using an actual quote, the FCC stated:

With respect to the relevant judicial decisions defining the nature of common carriage, we note that none of the parties to this proceeding appears to dispute that ECOM service would constitute a common carrier offering if it were to be provided by an entity other than the Postal Service. We also conclude independently that ECOM is a quasi-public offering of a for-profit service which affords the public an opportunity to transmit messages of its own design and choosing. Based on those judicially defined criteria, we find that, in offering ECOM, the Postal Service is engaging in a common carrier activity.

In re Request for declaratory ruling and investigation by Graphnet Systems, Inc., concerning the proposed E-COM service, FCC Docket No. 79-6 (Sept 4, 1979). In other words, before E-COM could get launched, the FCC said, "if you are going to do this, then you are under our jurisdiction, and you are going to have to file a tariff for the offering of your common carriage service." The FCC said that email , whether from the USPS or privately offered, is a form of common carriage - they don't say that anymore.

Well, the USPS would not accept "no" for an answer, tinkered with its network in order to weasel out of FCC jurisdiction, and launched E-COM in 1982. A message was priced at 26¢ - and for each email message, the USPS was said to lose around $5 [CATO]. They had apparently estimated that the service would be a raging success; it was not and, with the low message volume, the cost per message was rather high. And by the way, if you used the service you had to send at minimum 200 messages. The service was one directional; if you got an error message, you would receive it in the mail two days later. When the E-COM messages were printed out, it would take two days more to be delivered. And it cost the same as First Class mail.

In fiscal year 1984, 23 million E-COM messages were sent. E-COM service had 1,046 certified customers, 528 of whom were communication carriers. That year, the Postal Rate Commission responded to the Postal Service's 1983 request for a 31-cent rate for the first page by recommending a rate of 52 cents for the first page and 15 cents for the second page of E-COM messages. The Governors of the Postal Service, who decide rates and postal policies but can overrule a Postal Rate Commission decision only by a unanimous vote, rejected the Commission's recommended decision and asked for reconsideration. The Commission responded in June with a recommendation of a 49-cent rate for the first page and 14 cents for the second page. The Governors rejected these rates as well, essentially because they priced E-COM out the market, and recommended that the Postal Service dispose of the E-COM system by sale or lease to a private firm or firms. [USPS 2008]

For some reason, E-COM was a failure (one Senator called it a turkey). On September 3, 1985, three years after service was initiated, USPS terminated the service and tried to sell it off. [Aide p 8] [ECPA Report 1985 p 46] [USPS 2008]

ECOM Notes

  • Interconnection: "The final USPS provisions for interconnection between telecommunication providers and E-COM facilities at the 25 serving post offices (SPOs) appear to be substantially responsive to comments received from private firms. 'g USPS is providing four different interconnection arrangements for those firms desiring dedicated access to E-COM facilities, and two different arrangements for dial-up access at each SPO. The interconnection arrangements are summarized in appendix D. The dedicated access interconnection arrangements appear to meet the technical needs of most firms that provided comments to USPS. In addition, USPS has stated that it "will consider providing additional arrangements as necessary and feasible" and "will consider requests to accommodate user-provided interface circuit boards."20 The dial-up access arrangements will permit dial-up access via any public telephone network." - [Implications of Email p 78]
  • Statistics
  • "in the first half-year of its existence (January through June 1982), about 660,000 E-COM messages were sent. During July 1982, E-COM averaged about 172,000 messages weekly." - [Implications of Email p 4]
  • Electronic "Mail"

    The developers of email were apparently concerned about calling it "mail" and whether the USPS would demand a postage stamp for each message sent. Therefore they contacted the USPS just to be sure. "We cautiously tried to find out who to ask. We didn't want to ask any low-level people who could only say "no." Finally an MIT professor met someone fairly high up in the Postal Service, who said forget it, don't worry. "

    James Bovard, “Zapped by Electronic Mail, ” Across the Board, June 1985, p. 42

    Hearings

    USPS Reference

    Email as Tariffed FCC Service

    There was a time during the 1970s, before Computer II, when companies were filing tariffs with the FCC for their email services. See On the Matter of Monitoring Compliance with Conditions Underlying General Telephone and Electronics Corporation's Acquisition of Telenet. CC Docket No. 80-197 ORDER (Adopted: April 24, 1980; Released: May 30, 1980) at 78 FCC 2d 419

    In the past, Telenet transmission has basically been limited to communications between computers and lower-speed terminals (75 to 1200 bits per second). In 1980, Telenet plans to add interface facilities for its major classes of terminals to take advantage of higher speeds of 2400 to 56,000 bits per second. This includes visual display terminals, inquiries and other transaction processing applications and batch terminals. In addition to expanding its network, Telenet is expanding services it offers. Telenet has filed a tariff to offer Telemail, which it describes as an electronic mail service. In an April 2 News Release, Telenet states that this service is designed to overcome many of the limitations that services such as telex, TWX, and facsimile have. Thus, according to the release, represents the first step of Telenet's expansion into the office automation marketplace. The company expects to expand Telemail into a high-speed, multi-media information distribution system, incorporating electronic data bases.

    See also SICOM II order (59 FCC 2d 140) Finding Western Union 's "pseudo station service" (a primitive email) was a common carrier communications service. Pseudo Station Service provides for the diversion of messages for temporary storage at the computer center and their subsequent transmission to a station or stations on the customer's network.

    Tymnet received authorization in 1976 from the FCC to provide computer networking and messaging services as a common carrier. Tymnshare Annual Report 1976PDF p 11.

    United Telecom (aka Sprint) ran an X.25 service known as Uninet.

    Other early commercial email services: Quik-COmm (General Electric), Telemail (GTE Telenet), On-Tyme (Tymnet), InfoPlex (Plexus), Faxgram (Graphnet), Mailgram (Western Union), and Datapost (southern Pacific).

    In 1988, Vint Cerf convinced NSFNET to make an experimental exception to its AUP (which prohibited commercial traffic), permitting interconnection of the MCI commercial email service with NSFNET. Compuserv and Sprint would soon also gain experimental access for commercial email. [Kesan p 100, 112] [Roberts]

    SPAM

    So where does the term "SPAM" come from? See Brad Templeton's excellent Origin of the Term "SPAM." In 1970, Monty Python aired The SPAM skit, set in a restaurant that serves excessive amounts of SPAM, and featuring Vikings that repeatedly sing the word "SPAM" until they are told to shut up. This transformed the meaning of SPAM from canned meat to someone who repeats their message excessively until they are told to shut up. See Gordon v. Virtumundo, Inc., 575 F.3d 1040, 1045 n.1 (9th Cir. 2008) (stating that email spam “has its roots in a popular 1970 sketch by the British comedy troupe Monty Python's Flying Circus, in which the word 'spam' is repeated to the point of absurdity.").

    In 1978, the first reported SPAM (unsolicited commercial advertisement) email is sent by Digital. Reaction to the DEC Spam of 1978 [See Vanity Fair]

    Mail-from: DEC-MARLBORO rcvd at 3-May-78 0955-PDT
    Date:  1 May 1978 1233-EDT
    From: THUERK at DEC-MARLBORO
    Subject: ADRIAN@SRI-KL
    To:   DDAY at SRI-KL, DAY at SRI-KL, DEBOER at UCLA-CCN,
    To:   WASHDC at SRI-KL, LOGICON at USC-ISI, SDAC at USC-ISI,
    To:   DELDO at USC-ISI, DELEOT at USC-ISI, DELFINO at USC-ISI,
    To:   DENICOFF at USC-ISI, DESPAIN at USC-ISI, DEUTSCH at SRI-KL,
    To:   DEUTSCH at PARC-MAXC, EMY at CCA-TENEX, DIETER at USC-ISIB,
    To:   DINES at AMES-67, MERADCON at SRI-KL, EPG-SPEC at SRI-KA,
    To:   DIVELY at SRI-KL, DODD at USC-ISI, DONCHIN at USC-ISIC,
    To:   JED at LLL-COMP, DORIN at CCA-TENEX, NYU at SRI-KA,
    To:   DOUGHERTY at USC-ISI, PACOMJ6 at USC-ISI,
    To:   DEBBY at UCLA-SECURITY, BELL at SRI-KL, JHANNON at SRI-KA,
    To:   DUBOIS at USC-ISI, DUDA at SRI-KL, POH at USC-ISI,
    To:   LES at SU-AI, EAST at BBN-TENEX, DEASTMAN at USC-ECL,
    To:   EBISU at I4-TENEX, NAC at USC-ISIE, ECONOMIDIS at I4-TENEX,
    To:   WALSH at SRI-KL, GEDWARDS at SRI-KL, WEDWARDS at USC-ISI,
    To:   NUSC at SRI-KL, RM at SU-AI, ELKIND at PARC-MAXC,
    To:   ELLENBY at PARC-MAXC, ELLIS at PARC-MAXC, ELLIS at USC-ISIB,
    To:   ENGELBART at SRI-KL, ENGELMORE at SUMEX-AIM,
    To:   ENGLISH at PARC-MAXC, ERNST at I4-TENEX,
    To:   ESTRIN at MIT-MULTICS, EYRES at USC-ISIC,
    To:   FAGAN at SUMEX-AIM, FALCONER at SRI-KL,
    To:   DUF at UCLA-SECURITY, FARBER at RAND-UNIX, PMF at SU-AI,
    To:   HALFF at USC-ISI, RJF at MIT-MC, FEIERBACH at I4-TENEX,
    To:   FEIGENBAUM at USC-ISI, FEINLER at SRI-KL,
    To:   FELDMAN at SUMEX-AIM, FELDMAN at SRI-KL, FERNBACH at LLL-COMP,
    To:   FERRARA at RADC-MULTICS, FERRETTI at SRI-KA,
    To:   FIALA at PARC-MAXC, FICKAS at USC-ISIC, AFIELD at I4-TENEX,
    To:   FIKES at PARC-MAXC, REF at SU-AI, FINK at MIT-MULTICS,
    To:   FINKEL at USC-ISIB, FINN at USC-ISIB, AFGWC at BBN-TENEX,
    To:   FLINT at SRI-KL, WALSH at SRI-KL, DRXAN at SRI-KA,
    To:   FOX at SRI-KL, FRANCESCHINI at MIT-MULTICS,
    To:   SAI at USC-ISIC, FREDRICKSON at RAND-RCC, ETAC at BBN-TENEXB,
    To:   FREYLING at BBN-TENEXE, FRIEDLAND at SUMEX-AIM,
    To:   FRIENDSHUH at SUMEX-AIM, FRITSCH at LLL-COMP, ME at SU-AI,
    To:   FURST at BBN-TENEXB, FUSS at LLL-COMP, OP-FYE at USC-ISIB,
    To:   SCHILL at USC-ISIC, GAGLIARDI at USC-ISIC,
    To:   GAINES at RAND-UNIX, GALLENSON at USC-ISIB,
    To:   GAMBLE at BBN-TENEXE, GAMMILL at RAND-UNIX,
    To:   GANAN at USC-ISI, GARCIA at SUMEX-AIM,
    To:   GARDNER at SUMEX-AIM, MCCUTCHEN at SRI-KL,
    To:   GARDNER at MIT-MULTICS, GARLICK at SRI-KL,
    To:   GARVEY at SRI-KL, GAUTHIER at USC-ISIB,
    To:   USGS-LIA at BBN-TENEX, GEMOETS at I4-TENEX,
    To:   GERHART at USC-ISIB, GERLA at USC-ISIE, GERLACH at I4-TENEX,
    To:   GERMAN at HARV-10, GERPHEIDE at SRI-KA, DANG at SRI-KL,
    To:   GESCHKE at PARC-MAXC, GIBBONS at CMU-10A,
    To:   GIFFORD.COMPSYS at MIT-MULTICS, JGILBERT at BBN-TENEXB,
    To:   SGILBERT at BBN-TENEXB, SDAC at USC-ISI,
    To:   GILLOGLY at RAND-UNIX, STEVE at RAND-UNIX,
    To:   GLEASON at SRI-KL, JAG;BIN(1525) at UCLA-CCN,
    To:   GOLD at LL-11, GOLDBERG at USC-ISIB, GOLDGERG at SRI-KL,
    To:   GROBSTEIN at SRI-KL, GOLDSTEIN at BBN-TENEXB,
    To:   DARPM-NW at BBN-TENEXB, GOODENOUGH at USC-ISIB,
    To:   GEOFF at SRI-KL, GOODRICH at I4-TENEX, GOODWIN at USC-ISI,
    To:   GOVINSKY at SRI-KL, DEAN at I4-TENEX, TEG at MIT-MULTICS,
    To:   CCG at SU-AI, EPG-SPEC at SRI-KA, GRISS at USC-ECL,
    To:   BJG at RAND-UNIX, MCCUTCHEN at SRI-KL, GROBSTEIN at SRI-KL,
    To:   MOBAH at I4-TENEX, GUSTAFSON at USC-ISIB, GUTHARY at SRI-KL,
    To:   GUTTAG at USC-ISIB, GUYTON at RAND-RCC,
    To:   ETAC-AD at BBN-TENEXB, HAGMANN at USC-ECL, HALE at I4-TENEX,
    To:   HALFF at USC-ISI, DEHALL at MIT-MULTICS,
    To:   HAMPEL at LLL-COMP, HANNAH at USC-ISI,
    To:   NORSAR-TIP at USC-ISIC, SCRL at USC-ISI, HAPPY at SRI-KL,
    To:   HARDY at SRI-KL, IMPACT at SRI-KL, KLH at SRI-KL,
    To:   J33PAC at USC-ISI, HARRISON at SRI-KL, WALSH at SRI-KL,
    To:   DRCPM-FF at BBN-TENEXB, HART at AMES-67, HART at SRI-KL,
    To:   HATHAWAY at AMES-67, AFWL at I4-TENEX, BHR at RAND-UNIX,
    To:   RICK at RAND-UNIX, DEBE at USC-ISIB, HEARN at USC-ECL,
    To:   HEATH at UCLA-ATS, HEITMEYER at BBN-TENEX, ADTA at SRI-KA,
    To:   HENDRIX at SRI-KL, CH47M at BBN-TENEXB, HILLIER at SRI-KL,
    To:   HISS at I4-TENEX, ASLAB at USC-ISIC, HOLG at USC-ISIB,
    To:   HOLLINGWORTH at USC-ISIB, HOLLOWAY at HARV-10,
    To:   HOLMES at SRI-KL, HOLSWORTH at SRI-KA, HOLT at LLL-COMP,
    To:   HOLTHAM at LL, DHOLZMAN at RAND-UNIX, HOPPER at USC-ISIC,
    To:   HOROWITZ at USC-ISIB, VSC at USC-ISI, HOWARD at LLL-COMP,
    To:   HOWARD at USC-ISI, PURDUE at USC-ISI, HUBER at RAND-RCC,
    To:   HUNER at RADC-MULTICS, HUTSON at AMES-67, IMUS at USC-ISI,
    To:   JACOBS at USC-ISIE, JACOBS at BBN-TENEXB,
    To:   JACQUES at BBN-TENEXB, JARVIS at PARC-MAXC,
    To:   JEFFERS at PARC-MAXC, JENKINS at PARC-MAXC,
    To:   JENSEN at SRI-KA, JIRAK at SUMEX-AIM, NICKIE at SRI-KL,
    To:   JOHNSON at SUMEX-AIM, JONES at SRI-KL, JONES at LLL-COMP,
    To:   JONES at I4-TENEX, RLJ at MIT-MC, JURAK at USC-ECL,
    To:   KAHLER at SUMEX-AIM, MWK at SU-AI, KAINE at USC-ISIB,
    To:   KALTGRAD at UCLA-ATS, MARK at UCLA-SECURITY, RAK at SU-AI,
    To:   KASTNER at USC-ISIB, KATT at USC-ISIB,
    To:   UCLA-MNC at USC-ISI, ALAN at PARC-MAXC, KEENAN at USC-ISI,
    To:   KEHL at UCLA-CCN, KELLEY at SRI-KL, BANANA at I4-TENEX,
    To:   KELLOGG at USC-ISI, DDI at USC-ISI, KEMERY at SRI-KL,
    To:   KEMMERER at UCLA-ATS, PARVIZ at UCLA-ATS, KING at SUMEX-AIM,
    To:   KIRSTEIN at USC-ISI, SDC at UCLA-SECURITY,
    To:   KLEINROCK at USC-ISI, KLEMBA at SRI-KL, CSK at USC-ISI,
    To:   KNIGHT at SRI-KL, KNOX at USC-ISI, KODA at USC-ISIB,
    To:   KODANI at AMES-67, KOOIJ at USC-ISI, KREMERS at SRI-KL,
    To:   BELL at SRI-KL, KUNZELMAN at SRI-KL, PROJX at SRI-KL,
    To:   LAMPSON at PARC-MAXC, SDL at RAND-UNIX, JOJO at SRI-KL,
    To:   SDC at USC-ISI, NELC3030 at USC-ISI,
    To:   LEDERBERG at SUMEX-AIM, LEDUC at SRI-KL, JSLEE at USC-ECL,
    To:   JACOBS at USC-ISIE, WREN at USC-ISIB, LEMONS at USC-ISIB,
    To:   LEUNG at SRI-KL, J33PAC at USC-ISI, LEVIN at USC-ISIB,
    To:   LEVINTHAL at SUMEX-AIM, LICHTENBERGER at I4-TENEX,
    To:   LICHTENSTEIN at USC-ISI, LIDDLE at PARC-MAXC,
    To:   LIEB at USC-ISIB, LIEBERMAN at SRI-KL, STANL at USC-ISIE,
    To:   LIERE at I4-TENEX, DOCB at USC-ISIC, LINDSAY at SRI-KL,
    To:   LINEBARGER at AMES-67, LIPKIS at USC-ECL, SLES at USC-ISI,
    To:   LIS at SRI-KL, LONDON at USC-ISIB, J33PAC at USC-ISI,
    To:   LOPER at SRI-KA, LOUVIGNY at SRI-KL, LOVELACE at USC-ISIB,
    To:   LUCANIC at SRI-KL, LUCAS at USC-ISIB, DCL at SU-AI,
    To:   LUDLAM at UCLA-CCN, YNGVAR at SRI-KA, LYNCH at SRI-KL,
    To:   LYNN at USC-ISIB, MABREY at SRI-KL, MACKAY at AMES-67,
    To:   MADER at USC-ISIB, MAGILL at SRI-KL, KMAHONEY at BBN-TENEX,
    To:   MANN at USC-ISIB, ZM at SU-AI, MANNING at USC-ISI,
    To:   MANTIPLY at I4-TENEX, MARIN at I4-TENEX, SCRL at USC-ISI,
    To:   HARALD at SRI-KA, GLORIA-JEAN at UCLA-CCN, MARTIN at USC-ISIC,
    To:   WMARTIN at USC-ISI, GRM at RAND-UNIX, MASINTER at USC-ISI,
    To:   MASON at USC-ISIB, MATHIS at SRI-KL, MAYNARD at USC-ISIC,
    To:   MCBREARTY at SRI-KL, MCCALL at SRI-KA, MCCARTHY at SU-AI,
    To:   MCCLELLAND at USC-ISI, DORIS at RAND-UNIX, MCCLURG at SRI-KL,
    To:   JOHN at I4-TENEX, MCCREIGHT at PARC-MAXC, MCCRUMB at USC-ISI,
    To:   DRXTE at SRI-KA
    cc:   BPM at SU-AI*
    
    MCKINLEY@USC-ISIB
    MMCM@SRI-KL
    OT-ITS@SRI-KA
    BELL@SRI-KL
    MEADE@SRI-KL
    MARTIN@USC-ISI
    MERRILL@BBN-TENEX
    METCALFE@PARC-MAXC
    JMETZGER@USC-ISIB
    MICHAEL@USC-ISIC
    CMILLER@SUMEX-AIM
    MILLER@USC-ISI
    SCI@USC-ISI
    MILLER@USC-ISIC
    MITCHELL@PARC-MAXC
    MITCHELL@USC-ISI
    MITCHELL@SUMEX-AIM
    MLM@SU-AI
    JPDG@TENEXB
    MOORE@USC-ISIB
    WMORE@USC-ISIB
    JAM@SU-AI
    MORAN@PARC-MAXC
    ROZ@SU-AI
    MORGAN@USC-ISIB
    MORRIS@PARC-MAXC
    MORRIS@I4-TENEX
    OT-ITS@SRI-KA
    LISA@USC-ISIB
    MOSHER@SRI-KL
    MULHERN@USC-ISI
    MUNTZ;BIN(1529)@UCLA-CCN
    MYERS@USC-ISIC
    MYERS@RAND-RCC
    DRCPM-FF-FO@BBN-TENEXB
    NAGEL@USC-ISIB
    NAPKE@SRI-KL
    NARDI@SRI-KL
    NAYLOR@USC-ISIE
    LOU@USC-ISIE
    NESBIT@RAND-RCC
    NEUMANN@SRI-KA
    NEVATIA@USC-ECL
    NEWBY@USC-ISI
    NEWEKK@SRI-KA
    NIELSON@SRI-KL
    NLL@SUMEX-AIM
    NILSSON@SRI-KL
    NITZAN@SRI-KL
    NOEL@USC-ISIC
    NORMAN@PARC-MAXC
    NORTON@SRI-KL
    JOAN@USC-ISIB
    NOURSE@SUMEX-AIM
    PDG@SRI-KL
    OMALLEY@SRI-KA
    OCKEN@USC-ISIC
    OESTREICHER@USC-ISIB
    OGDEN@SRI-KA
    OKINAKA@USC-ISIE
    OLSON@I4-TENEX
    ORNSTEIN@PARC-MAXC
    PANKO@SRI-KL
    TED@SU-AI
    PARK@SRI-KL
    PBARAN@USC-ISI
    PARKER@USC-ISIB
    PEARCE@USC-ISI
    PEPIN@USC-ECL
    PERKINS@USC-ISIB
    PETERS@SRI-KL
    AMPETERSON@USC-ISI
    ASLAB@USC-ISIC
    EPG-SPEC@SRI-KA
    PEZDIRTZ@LLL-COMP
    CHARLIE@I4-TENEX
    UCLA-DOC@USC-ISI
    WPHILLIPS@USC-ISI
    PIERCY@MOFFETT-ARC
    PINE@SRI-KL
    PIPES@I4-TENEX
    PIRTLE@SRI-KL
    POGGIO@USC-ISIC
    POH@USC-ISI
    POOL@BBN-TENEX
    POPEK@USC-ISI
    POSTEL@USC-ISIB
    POWER@SRI-KL
    PRICE@USC-ECL
    RANDALL@USC-ISIB
    RANDALL@SRI-KA
    RAPHAEL@SRI-KL
    RAPP@RAND-RCC
    RASMUSSEN@USC-ISIC
    RATTNER@SRI-KL
    RAY@ILL-NTX
    FNWC@I4-TENEX
    BRL@SRI-KL
    RETZ@SRI-KL
    SKIP@USC-ISIB
    RICHARDSON@USC-ISIB
    RICHES@USC-ECL
    GWEN@USC-ECL
    OP-RIEDEL@USC-ISIB
    RIES@LLL-COMP
    RINDFLEISCH@SUMEX-AIM
    OP-ROBBINS@USC-ISIB
    ROBINSON@SRI-KL
    JROBINSON@SRI-KL
    RODRIQUEZ@SRI-KL
    MARTIN@USC-ISI
    ROM@USC-ISIC
    ROMIEZ@I4-TENEX
    ROSE@USC-ISI
    ROSEN@SRI-KL
    BARBARA@I4-TENEX
    ROTHENBERG@USC-ISIB
    RUBIN@SRI-KL
    JBR@SU-AI
    RUBINSTEIN@BBN-TENEXD
    RUDY@USC-ECL
    RUGGERI@SRI-KA
    RULIFSON@PARC-MAXC
    DALE@USC-ISIB
    SACERDOTI@SRI-KL
    SAGALOWICZ@SRI-KL
    ALS@SU-AI
    SANTONI@USC-ISIC
    SATTERTHWAITE@PARC-MAXC
    SAWCHUK@USC-ECL
    CPF-CC@USC-ISI
    SCHELONKA@USC-ISI
    SCHILL@USC-ISIC
    SCHILLING@USC-ISI
    SCHULZ@SUMEX-AIM
    SCOTT@SUMEX-AIM
    CPF-CC@USC-ISI
    OP-SEATON@USC-ISIB
    SENNE@LL
    NORM@RAND-UNIX
    AFWL@14-TENEX
    SHEPPARD@LL-ASG
    SHERWIN@USC-ISI
    SHERWOOD@SRI-KL
    SHORT@SRI-KL
    SHORTLIFE@SUMEX-AIM
    SHOSHANI@BBN-TENEX
    MARTIN@USC-ISI
    UCLA-NMC@USC-ISIE
    SDL@USC-ISIC
    SKOCYPEC@USC-ISI
    SLES@USC-ISI
    SLOTTOW@UCLA-CCN
    NOAA@14-TENEX
    SMALL@USC-ISI
    DAVESMITH@PARC-MAXC
    DSMITH@RAND-UNIX
    SMITH@SUMEX-AIM
    SMITH@USC-ECL
    MARCIE@I4-TENEX
    USARSGEUR@USC-ISI
    LOGICON@USC-ISI
    EPA@SRI-KL
    SONDEREGGER@USC-ISIB
    SPEER@LL
    AMICON-RN@USC-ISI
    SPROULL@PARC-MAXC
    PROJX@SRI-KL
    STEF@SRI-KA
    STEFIK@SUMEX-AIM
    STEPHENS@SRI-KA
    CFD@I4-TENEX
    STOCKHAM@SRI-KA
    STOTZ@USC-ISIB
    ALLEN@UCLA-SECURITY
    STOUTE@MIT-ML
    STRADLING@SRI-KL
    STROLLO@PARC-MAXC
    UCLA-0638@UCLA-CCN
    CRT@SRI-KA
    SUNSHINE@RAND-UNIX
    SUTHERLAND@SRI-KL
    SUTHERLAND@RAND-UNIX
    SUTHERLAND@PARC-MAXC
    SUTTON@USC-ISIC
    SWEER@SUMEX-AIM
    TAFT@PARC-MAXC
    TAYLOR@USC-ISIB
    TAYLOR@PARC-MAXC
    TAYNAI@SUMEX-AIM
    TEITELMAN@PARC-MAXC
    TENENBAUM@SRI-KL
    GREEP@RAND-UNIX
    TERRY@SUMEX-AIM
    TESLER@PARC-MAXC
    THACKER@PARC-MAXC
    PWT@RAND-UNIX
    TIPPIT@USC-ISIE
    TOBAGI@USC-ISIE
    TOGNETTI@SUMEX-AIM
    TORRES@SRI-KL
    TOWNLEY@HARV-10
    ELINA@UCLA-ATS
    TUCKER@SUMEX-AIM
    TUGENDER@USC-ISIB
    LLLSRG@MIT-MC
    UNCAPHER@USC-ISIB
    NOSC@SRI-KL
    UNTULIS@SRI-KL
    MIKE@UCLA-SECURITY
    AARDVARK@UCLA-ATS
    UZGALIS;BIN(0836)@UCLA-CCN
    VANGOETHEM@UCLA-CCN
    VANMIEROP@USC-ISIB
    VANNOUHUYS@SRI-KL
    VEIZADES@SUMEX-AIM
    VESECKY@USC-ISI
    AV@MIT-DMS
    VICTOR@USC-ISIC
    VIDAL@UCLA-SECURITY
    OP-VILAIN@USC-ISIB
    RV@RAND-UNIX
    SDL@USC-ISIC
    VOLPE@SRI-KL
    VONNEGUT@I4-TENEX
    VU@SRI-KL
    WACTLAR@CMU-10A
    WAGNER@USC-ISI
    WAHRMAN@RAND-UNIX
    WALDINGER@SRI-KL
    WALKER@UCLA-SECURITY
    WALKER@SRI-KL
    WALLACE@PARC-MAXC
    EVE@UCLA-SECURITY
    LOGICON@USC-ISI
    DON@RAND-UNIX
    WATSON@USC-ISIC
    WEIDEL@USC-ECL
    WEINBERG@SRI-KL
    JLW@MIT-AI
    LAUREN@UCLA-SECURITY
    WEISSMAN@I4-TENEX
    WELLS@USC-ISIC
    GERSH@USC-ISI
    WETHEREL@LLL-COMP
    RWW@SU-AI
    SCRL@USC-ISI
    TWHELLER@SRI-KA
    MABREY@SRI-KL
    WHITE@PARC-MAXC
    WHITE@SUMEX-AIM
    WIEDERHOLD@SUMEX-AIM
    WILBER@SRI-KL
    EPG-SPEC@SRI-KA
    WILCOX@SUMEX-AIM
    WILCZYNSKI@USC-ISIB
    WILE@USC-ISIB
    OP-WILLIAMS@USC-ISIB
    WILSON@USC-ISIB
    TW@SU-AI
    SCI@USC-ISI
    WISNIEWSKI@RAND-UNIX
    WOLF@SRI-KL
    PAT@SU-AI
    NELC3030@USC-ISI
    WYATT@HARV-10
    LEO@USC-ISIB
    YEH@LLL-COMP
    YONKE@USC-ISIB
    YOUNGBERG@SRI-KA
    ZEGERS@SRI-KL
    ZOLOTOW@SRI-KL
    ZOSEL@LLL-COMP
    DIGITAL WILL BE GIVING A PRODUCT PRESENTATION OF THE NEWEST MEMBERS OF THE
    DECSYSTEM-20 FAMILY; THE DECSYSTEM-2020, 2020T, 2060, AND 2060T.  THE
    DECSYSTEM-20 FAMILY OF COMPUTERS HAS EVOLVED FROM THE TENEX OPERATING SYSTEM
    AND THE DECSYSTEM-10  COMPUTER ARCHITECTURE.  BOTH THE DECSYSTEM-2060T
    AND 2020T OFFER FULL ARPANET SUPPORT UNDER THE TOPS-20 OPERATING SYSTEM.
    THE DECSYSTEM-2060 IS AN UPWARD EXTENSION OF THE CURRENT DECSYSTEM 2040
    AND 2050 FAMILY. THE DECSYSTEM-2020 IS A NEW LOW END MEMBER OF THE
    DECSYSTEM-20 FAMILY AND FULLY SOFTWARE COMPATIBLE WITH ALL OF THE OTHER
    DECSYSTEM-20 MODELS.
    
    WE INVITE YOU TO COME SEE THE 2020 AND HEAR ABOUT THE DECSYSTEM-20 FAMILY
    AT THE TWO PRODUCT PRESENTATIONS WE WILL BE GIVING IN CALIFORNIA THIS
    MONTH.  THE LOCATIONS WILL BE:
    
                   TUESDAY, MAY 9, 1978 - 2 PM
                       HYATT HOUSE (NEAR THE L.A. AIRPORT)
                       LOS ANGELES, CA
    
                   THURSDAY, MAY 11, 1978 - 2 PM
                       DUNFEY'S ROYAL COACH
                       SAN MATEO, CA
                       (4 MILES SOUTH OF S.F. AIRPORT AT BAYSHORE, RT 101 AND RT 92)
    
    A 2020 WILL BE THERE FOR YOU TO VIEW. ALSO TERMINALS ON-LINE TO OTHER
    DECSYSTEM-20 SYSTEMS THROUGH THE ARPANET. IF YOU ARE UNABLE TO ATTEND,
    PLEASE FEEL FREE TO CONTACT THE NEAREST DEC OFFICE
    FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THE EXCITING DECSYSTEM-20 FAMILY.
                 

    * NOTE: At this point, the addresses supplied overflows the "to" field.

    Timeline

  • 1993: AOL and Delphi interconnect their proprietary email systems to the Internet.
  • 1989: Compuserve email connects to NSFNET
  • 1988:
  • Vint Cerf arranges for a connection of MCI Mail to NSFNET on an experimental basis.
  • Dan Webb introduces email messages as evidence in prosecution of Reagan White House's John Poindexter. [Vanity Fair]
  • May 23 "Help Me" SPAM to comp.lang.apl (described as charity spam or charity scam) [Origins of First "Spam"]
  • Hi. I just finished my junior year in college, and now I'm faced with a major problem. I can't afford to pay for my senior year. I've tried everything. I can't get any more student loans, I don't qualify for any more scholarships, and my parents are as broke as am I. So as you can see, I've got a major problem. But as far as I can see, there is only one solution, to go forward. I've come along way, and there is no chance in hell that I'm going to drop out now! I'm not a quiter, and I'm not going to give up.
  • 1985:
  • After 3 years, USPS terminates E-COM service. [USPS]
  • Whitehouse uses DIALCOM in order to email federal agencies. [ECPA Report 1985 p 47]
  • 1984: Federal Express introduces Zapmail, a form of email with 2 hour delivery [ECPA Report 1985 p 47]
  • 1982:
  • RFC 821, Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (Aug. 1982)
  • USPS Introduces E-COM (messages that originate as email, are printed out, and then delivered in hard copy form). [USPS] FCC asserts jurisdiction over E-COM as a telecommunications service.
  • David Crocker, RFC 822, Standard for the Format of ARPA Internet Text Messages (Aug. 13, 1982)

    By 1977, the Arpanet employed several informal standards for the text messages (mail) sent among its host computers. It was felt necessary to codify these practices and provide for those features that seemed imminent. The result of that effort was Request for Comments (RFC) #733, "Standard for the Format of ARPA Network Text Message", by Crocker, Vittal, Pogran, and Henderson. The specification attempted to avoid major changes in existing software, while permitting several new features.   This document revises the specifications in RFC #733 , in order to serve the needs of the larger and more complex ARPA Internet. Some of RFC #733 's features failed to gain adequate acceptance. In order to simplify the standard and the software that follows it, these features have been removed. A different addressing scheme is used, to handle the case of inter-network mail; and the concept of re-transmission has been introduced.

  • 1979:
  • USPS attempts to ban private email service, but is thwarted by the FCC and the US Postal Commission. [Bovard]
  • Meeting at BBN to discuss differences and incompatibilities between different ARPA email services. A record of the meeting is recounted in Jon Postel, RFC 808, Summary of Computer Mail Services Meeting Held at BBN on 10 January 1979 (March 1, 1982) A list of all of the differing email services was compiled by Prof David Farber and presented in Appendix A.
  • Former ARPA Chief and email advocate SJ Lukasik becomes FCC Chief Scientist
  • "President Carter was supporting a USPS proposal to offer limited electronic message service where the messages would be transferred from one post office to another electronically, and then would be brought to the consumer's address by the mailman. This threat brought the research community together and they along with the US Justice Department and the FCC opposed any plans of government intervention in e-mail.  They all successfully lobbied for E-mail to be left up to the free market." [Akkad]
  • 1978- Reaction to the DEC Spam of 1978, which has the reputation as the first SPAM message [See Vanity Fair]
  • 1977:
  • DARPA initiative to transform various differing email formats into a single, standard specification. David Crocker, John Vittal, Kenneth Pogran, Austin Henderson, RFC 733, Standard for the Format of ARPA Network Text Message (Nov. 21, 1977) ("This standard specifies a syntax for text messages which are passed between computer users within the framework of "electronic mail"." RFC notes that this work was funded by DARPA.)
  • USPS initiates exploration of email
  • 1973: 75% of traffic on ARPANet is email. [Akkad] Study was conducted pursuant to request from ARPA Chief SJ Lukasik
  • 1972: RFC 354, Comments on the File Transfer Protocol , ¶ 21 (Aug 18, 1972) (adding Mail File "MLFL" and the MAIL command to FTP)
  • 1973: Stephen Lukasik becomes Chief of ARPA. He was a major proponent of network research of of electronic mail. Would become FCC Chief Scientist in 1979.
  • 1971
  • Email is sent on MIT's CTSS to all recipients with the anti war message "There is no way to Peace. Peace is the way!" [Vleck]
  • Ray Tomlinson develops an email application for over the ARPANet, permitting individuals to send messages over the network and alert the recipient that a message had been received. Tomlinson chose the "@" sign for email addresses.
  • 1970 - Monty Python Spam Skit airs
  • 1965 Noel Morris and Tom Van Vleck invent email
  • 1960s Email developed for time share computers (individuals could message each other on the same mainframe computer; but not over a network)
  • 1890s: USPS declared it illegal to deliver paper messages through pneumatic tubes under city streets [Bovard]
  • emailhistoryemailhistory

     

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