Name: Jason M. Chu
Advisor: Professor Trachtenberg
With email as one of the primary mean of
communication today, sending outgoing emails to incorrect recipients may
be just as common a mistake as dialing an incorrect telephone number. The
difference is, for incorrect telephone number dialing, upon the
establishment of the connection, you will often be notified immediately
about your mistake without having to reveal any personal messages at all.
Email, however, is irreversible. If once the messages are send out and
then you realized that you have made a mistake, you will not be able to
The purpose of this project is to design an email
retracting system that is capable of correcting such errors.
The Email Retraction System may be used for
retracting emails that are either containing unintended information or are
mistakenly sent to the incorrect recipients. This system will be
especially useful if the sender need to frequently send email to large
groups of mail recipients, in which huge amount of time and effort will be
required if any mistakes are made.
The system should be compatible with at least one
major existing email platform and the program should be as transparent as
possible for the purpose of user friendliness. Installations of the
program will also be required.
Without having administrative privileges to the
recipients’ email servers, we will not be able to delete any email from
their accounts and therefore we cannot physically “unsend” the email
messages. However, we can prevent the recipients from reading the contents
of the messages by using encryptions. That is, before sending any outgoing
email, we will encrypt the message body and send out the encrypted email
instead. Each encrypted email will be assigned to a unique message
identifier and it will be store in a remote server along with its
corresponding decryption key.
opening the encrypted message, the program will automatically send
requests for the message’s decryption key from the server and translate
the encrypted message accordingly.
In the case that the emails are mistakenly send out.
The sender will only need to change or delete the decryption key from the
server. The recipients will not be able to read the email messages unless
they obtained the decryption key. Thus we can retract emails message if
and only if we change the decryption key before the recipients open our