I have finally given up trying to run my own email server. None of my MX records point at myself anymore. Not only will Google be getting a copy of every email I receive from now on (which they mostly already had on account of being sent from Google in the first place), but now my domain-registrar will get a copy of all of them too as they receive them for me and pass it on to google to hold till I collect it.
The reason is mostly spam.
Firstly the amount of spam that a seventeen year old publicly-available email address collects, and the difficulty in filtering that all out.
Last month some software update or another broke my Spam-Assassin install and I was having the full brunt of it all without any filtering for a few weeks there. Good grief! I could have put effort into fixing it but decided I’d had enough instead.
Because filtering incoming spam isn’t the only spam-related issue with running your own email servers.
You also have to do constant vigilance to ensure that your outgoing email doesn’t fall into the over-eager spam-traps of the recipients email providers.
The privacy implications of Google or whoever having a copy of every one of my emails is almost irrelevant when they already actually have a copy given to them by the email sender anyway. Email was never really a properly private conversation anyway I suppose.
Truth is very little of the interesting conversations happen in email any more anyway. It’s all work and delivery notifications and electronic tickets and notifications of messages held elsewhere. I expect these things will be valuable to Google as they build their little e-voodoo avatar of me to do their experiments on though.
My eighteen year email archive begins with a message sent on the 5th of December 1998. I have no archive of the time I was using university email servers and had no email at all for about five years after graduating. That message was to myself and reads “Tester: Lets go.”
The last non-spam email I received on my own server was a Green Party mailing.
I will set up something to pull and archive a copy of all the email being sent through google though. I’m giving up on running my own email server, not keeping my own archive of that email. Sure, google can have a copy now, but I’m certainly keeping a copy for myself too. Ideally all the facebooks and tweets and telegrams and whatsapps and signals and sms and this blog would be in that archive too, but some of those things are more tricky than others.