The problem is that people make up their own arbitrary rules to validate an email address, and one of the common ones is to not accept ones that are too short. The designer will typically base this on "I have never seen an email shorter than 10 characters" or something stupid like that rather than "Is there an Internet standard for email addresses that I can check". It is sloppy, and lazy.
Data Protection Act
When someone holds my personal data, e.g. an organisation that I have an ongoing connection with like my bank or some such, then I can expect them to ensure the details they hold on me are correct. So, like the issue with phone numbers where the expect a mobile to start 07, not accepting a short email address gives them legal problems. Anyone collecting and holding personal data has a legal obligation to hold correct data and correct it if it is wrong under The Data Protection Act.
Sadly the enforcement is via the ICO, so even with letters demanding they fix things, it does not get far.
So I wondered if there are other angles to get people to fix stupid mistakes like this.
This idea has come up because my daughter is dyslexic. I have a similarly short email address for her, and she can remember it and get it right. This is good. I actually want to try and get her an even simpler one but I am waiting for the domain to be available.
The issue came up today. In the past I have explained that we have an alternative email address, one under @kennard.me.uk for sites and systems that do not understand the short email address. The problem is that she gets that mixed up and has been giving people @kennard.gg email addresses which we don't have. It happened today and I noticed when she showed me. I am not that surprised she got mixed up.
So it occurred to me that forcing her to provide a different and more complex email address may be some sort of disability discrimination. I am not sure dyslexia is a disability people have to accommodate legally though. It may, however, be a better angle in angry letters to companies than the Data Protection one.
Apparently one culprit is her college, Berkshire College of Agriculture, that won't accept her shorter email address. So I am thinking a letter may be in order, perhaps under DPA and the discrimination angle.
We'll keep up the battle though. My dad has a similar battle with organisations all of the time.
|Coincidentally - today's xkcd is on email|