We Will Hide Your Stuff

Some time ago, I heard a bit of a radio series in which the heroine found herself in a weird parallel version of London.  (I was fairly sure that this was “Undone”, written by Ben Moor – I got so obsesessed that I confirmed this with the writer! – and therefore the protagonist’s name was Edna.)  Edna came across a business called “We Will Hide Your Stuff”.  She was so puzzled by this that she phoned them up to find out what it was about.  The conversation went:
“You know your stuff?”
“Yes?”
“We hide it.”

This seems to be an approach taken in a joint effort by BT and Microsoft.  For their business customers, BT provide e-mail via Microsoft Exchange Server.  So far, so good.  However, the e-mail that reaches the user is pre-filtered for spam.  You would think that this means that it goes into a spam folder, and so it does, but that spam folder is not visible to the user.  There is a spam folder visible to the user, but nothing goes there, because anything that Microsoft Exchange thinks is spam gets trapped by the hidden pre-filtering system.  This is filtering by algorithm, and, of course, it is imperfect.  It traps some genuine spam, but it also lets some through.  Crucially, it traps some genuine business communications.
BT can give their customers access to this pre-filtering spam folder, but they don’t do so automatically.  In order to get access, you need to prove to BT that there is some e-mail that you have not received.  You would think that they would see a flaw in this approach.

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