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Government Your Rights Online

Malaysian Government Offers Free E-mail To All Citizens 189

jfruhlinger writes "Attempts to move governments to electronic communications often hit a serious snag: Governments must serve all citizens, and not all citizens have email addresses. Malaysia's solution to the problem: offer free email to every Malaysian adult. Citizens will be able to get their address by inserting a smartcard into a reader or presenting it in person." Would you trust your government to be your mail provider?
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Malaysian Government Offers Free E-mail To All Citizens

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  • by mwvdlee ( 775178 ) on Tuesday April 26, 2011 @09:49AM (#35941382) Homepage

    Considering these e-mail addresses are meant for communication with the government, I see no problem with them being hosted by the government. Just do all your normal e-mailling with a regular provider and communicate with the government using either your own e-mail address or the government-hosted one.
    They could spy all they want; all e-mail in these boxes is either from or to them anyway.

  • Re:USPO (Score:4, Informative)

    by jmcharry ( 608079 ) on Tuesday April 26, 2011 @09:58AM (#35941478)

    Over twenty years ago the USPS was working on a plan to install Group IV fax machines in post offices and offer a very fast document delivery service. Congress stopped them because they thought it would compete with private services. (Group IV fax produces copy about like a laser printer, and about as fast, but requires ISDN.) I suspect the same would have happened had they tried to offer email.

  • by dkleinsc ( 563838 ) on Tuesday April 26, 2011 @10:07AM (#35941598) Homepage

    Actually, thanks to the completely misnamed USA PATRIOT Act, the US government doesn't even need a subpoena but instead can send a nice totalitarian-sounding "national security letter". The advantage of the NSL over a subpoena is that even if your corporate email provider wanted to fight the NSL, they couldn't do so legally because the recipient of an NSL is expressly forbidden to tell anybody about it, and that "anybody" includes a court of law. By contrast, if for some reason the corporate email provider wanted to stand up for its customers, it could attempt to quash the subpoena and argue its case in court.

  • by somersault ( 912633 ) on Tuesday April 26, 2011 @11:18AM (#35942544) Homepage Journal

    What, so they're happy to give the government lots of guns and money to invade other countries and protect themselves, but they're unhappy at the idea of the government actually providing any useful services? Talk about whipped.

  • by crf00 ( 1048098 ) on Tuesday April 26, 2011 @11:34AM (#35942760) Homepage
    I am from Malaysia. The problem for this project is more complicated actually. There are several concerns that we as citizens of Malaysia are worry about:

    1. The project is run by a public company named Tricubes. The company is under financial difficulty and is listed under GN3 in the Malaysia stock exchange market (which means near bankruptcy). Because of this announcement, the share price of Tricubes raised from RM0.055 to RM0.325 within a week - a whopping 491% increase.

    2. Tricubes claim that the RM50 million investment is a private investment. Citizens however believe that the government will eventually pay a huge amount of service fees to Tricubes.

    3. A simple analysis on the domain shows that the domain is merely using Microsoft Windows Live Mail as the back end provider. It is hard to believe that a service that directly use the API can cost that much, not less to say the entire potential vendor lock-in by Microsoft to this email infrastructure.

    4. Tricubes will charge 50 cents (RM0.50) for every email sent. Do some calculation and you can tell how much it will cost the government to make an announcement by sending one email to each of the 27 million citizens in Malaysia.

    From the facts that we have, it is obvious that there is a high possibility that this is yet another corruption of the government to let people with internal connection make free money.

    While I understand that building an email system do cost money, it is absurd to spend RM50m in something that directly uses Windows Live services and provide nothing more than that. And it is even more absurd to charge that much for an email delivery that is essentially free. Even though we have the freedom to decline this project by not using this service, it is impossible for us to stop the corrupted government from sending costly emails to our inactive accounts, thus giving tax payers' money to Tricubes.
  • by jpapon ( 1877296 ) on Tuesday April 26, 2011 @11:47AM (#35942904) Journal
    Yep. That pretty much sums it up.

    Additionally, they believe that corporations do everything better, because they do it for a profit. They also trust corporations (which, thanks to them, have no oversight) more than the government (which has a lot of oversight, and general accountability to the public). Boggles the mind, but it's true.

Thus spake the master programmer: "Time for you to leave." -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"