Hi Folks,

This is my first posting to this list. I am going to violate the 
principle rule of mailing lists. That is to start posting before even 
reading any of the previous posts. I just subscribed as a matter of fact. 
I was told however by a reliable source (Wally Bowen) that this is the 
perfect place for this. 

So, Email at public access terminals?    

We, (The Mountain Area Information Network) as part of our mission are 
placing public access terminals in libraries and other locations. One of 
the functions we want to be available to the users of these terminals is 
the ability to access their email from these terminals. 

Currently, the method we are providing is the availability of telnet and 
access to their email through a their shell acount. (All users of MAIN 
systems have access to a shell account). We are providing a basic 
instruction set for people to follow if they are not familiar with this 
process. This set of instructions is available from the MAIN home page. 

We are open to alternative methods that might prove more user friendly 
or have a better interface. We have heard of one alternative being used, 
namely using Eudora on a floppy. People bring their own floppy disk with 
a POP mailer, including their inbox with them, and insert it into the 
drive on the PA terminal. There are several concerns associated with this 
method. One is that we don't want to allow users to access a command 
environment, like a DOS prompt, Explorer, or File Manager (these are PC's 
running Windows 95). If people have access to a command environment, they 
can insert a virus, corrupt the boot sector of the disk, monitor 
keystrokes and write them to a file thereby capturing user passwords, and 
cause as much havoc as they can figure out. This is one problems faced by 
PA terminals. Other problems that this method allows is that people may 
leave their disks in the station by mistake, violating their privacy and 
allowing harrassing, obscene, or otherwise illegal email to be sent in another 
users name. 

Although the telnet method could create the second problem, at least the 
integrity of the operating system would remain intact. Also, people are 
more likely to forget a disk than to leave a telnet session open.

Anyway, have any of used another solution, or can you make any 


Steven Lee
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