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Canadian man finds out his email address is not his own

A man in the Canadian city of Halifax is being forced to go through 20 years of email and decide what he wants to keep – because his service provider has decided that it wants to deactivate his account due to the email address he has.

Steve Morshed asked for the email address noreply@ from the Canadian service provider Eastlink back in 1998 and was given the same.

But now, according to a CBC News report, the company has decided that such an address cannot be used as it is too generic and similar variants — noreply@ thiscompany or that — are used by many other people.

It has come at a bad time for him as he is trying to sell his house.

Morshed was quoted as saying that he asked for noreply@ eastlink.ca because he wanted an unusual email address.

Since all his mail sits on the Eastlink servers, he will have to go through the lot and see what he wants to keep – it will not be accessible to him once the account is cancelled.

He was given 30 days notice on 7 June about the cancellation, which means that he will lose his account tomorrow Australian time. Halifax is 13 hours behind AEDT.

Morshed said: "Now, after all these years, 20 years almost, I find it reprehensible they want to pop out of (the) bushes and just give me 30 days to go through 20 years worth of emails and decide what I want to keep."

He said he had asked Eastlink to transfer all his email to a new account but the company had refused.

"Just flat no. No offers of help. Just the bullying that 'We're going to do it, you're going to take it. That's it'," he said.

Eastlink spokesperson Jill Laing told CBC News that "noreply@ xxxxx.ca business response email addresses had become common for businesses and industries".

She said the company believed that using such an email address may lead some to "believe that information coming from this address is from Eastlink".

Morshed made a formal complaint to the Commissioner for Complaints for Telecommunications Services, an independent body that is tasked with resolving such issues, but was told that he would not get any more time to move his mail elsewhere.

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Sam Varghese

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A professional journalist with decades of experience, Sam for nine years used DOS and then Windows, which led him to start experimenting with GNU/Linux in 1998. Since then he has written widely about the use of both free and open source software, and the people behind the code. His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.