Bits & Bytes
THE POSTAL SERVICE WANTS TO RUN A NATIONAL E-MAIL DIRECTORY
Tying the nation's electronic-mail systems together by sharing address lists would make it much easier for e-mail users to reach each other, no matter which service they're using. But operators of e-mail networks, such as AT&T EasyLink, worry that divulging their customers' addresses will make it easy for competitors to pick them off. Likewise, operators of private e-mail networks, such as Boeing Co., fear that revealing employees' addresses would open them up to unwanted messages--from job recruiters, say.
The logical solution is to turn the job over to an independent party with no vested interest. So, the U. S. Postal Service has nominated itself for the task. Richard Yessian, general manager of the service's Management Analysis Div., says the Postal Service, which is not in the e-mail business, could keep a master address list under the auspices of all the e-mail operators. To protect an e-mailer's privacy, inquirers might need the actual name of the person they wish to contact. E-mail operators haven't decided whether to accept the offer yet.EDITED BY PAUL M. ENG