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Silent email filtering makes iCloud an unreliable option

#1 User is offline   Macworld 

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Posted 28 February 2013 - 09:45 AM

Post your comments for Silent email filtering makes iCloud an unreliable option here
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#2 User is offline   hmurchison 

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  Posted 28 February 2013 - 10:06 AM

I doubt it's as simple as a spam filter gone haywire. If it was just looking for spam why the deep inspection on attachments? That's pretty invasive.

I've noticed the Siri returns filtered responses as well when I once did a search for "National Rifle Association" and got absolutely nothing on the NRA.
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#3 User is offline   mcox1124 

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  Posted 28 February 2013 - 10:24 AM

I'm slowly ditching iCloud. One of the biggest reasons I am transitioning is because of the SPAM filter. I get so much SPAM through iCloud it was unbearable. It was like using Hotmail in 2006 again. So, I set up a new Gmail account and forwarded my iCloud emails to it. Gmail catches the SPAM from iCloud and gets it out of sight, no problem.

I have no problem with Apple filtering out items like "barely legal teens", but when you have examples like hmurchison's, I get concerned. Siri leaving stuff out based on some guy's political principles is very concerning.
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#4 User is offline   TheBreenv5cw 

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  Posted 28 February 2013 - 10:29 AM

I've been an iTools/.Mac/MobileMe/iCloud user since Feb 2002, and the mail filtering has not caused a problem that I've noticed* in that time. (*I recognize the potential Catch-22 here; also that this is anecdotal). However, I get dozens of spam messages a day on my Gmail account and many slip through Google's spam filters. I've never found a false positive in Gmail.

For me, this makes the Apple system more usable. In fact, I use my Gmail account through the Mail.app, which often catches junk mail that Google missed. While I recognize the potential for missing emails with "barely legal teens" mentioned in them, so far the risk to reward ratio has been worth it for me. That is, the real benefits have outweighed the potential risks.

Just my two cents, and your mileage may of course vary.
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#5 User is offline   eatapc 

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  Posted 28 February 2013 - 10:46 AM

Are the authors sure that what Apple does isn't done by any other providers? I use iCloud, Comcast, Verizon and Google. For years more spam got through Mobile Me (then .Mac and Me.com) than Comcast. Even with no filters on, my Comcast Junk folder often remained empty for months. Now that I have Verizon I'm finding the same thing. I'm just not getting any spam, so I'm quite sure that those services are blocking e-mail before it gets to me.

Meanwhile, over at Google Mail, about a dozen e-mails per day went straight to my Spam folder. Ads for porn, Viagra, medical devices, phony Facebook alerts, etc. But then something changed. I have no filtering set up, but the spam has dried up dramatically. I'm down to a couple of unknown pieces of junk per week, and none of it porn.

The question that remains unanswered in this article is how other providers do their spam blocking, and whether or not they have filters set up that are similar to Apple's. The last paragraph weasels out with the qualifier, "as far as we know." In other words, the authors don't know.
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#6 User is online   draccy 

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  Posted 28 February 2013 - 10:55 AM

I had this problem a few years ago, when it was still called MobileMe. At the time, emails from Netflix were being filtered before I ever saw them. You'd think that since Netflix was a very common email sender, it would have been fixed right away, but the issue was ongoing. The problem would also crop up with other senders. I'd report patterns of missing email to MobileMe support and would sometimes be told that it was taken care of (senders whitelisted, I guess), but I felt that I couldn't trust MobileMe to deliver my email, so I switched to Gmail. It sounds like iCloud has inherited this "service" of filtering out spam. I want to decide what is and isn't spam. Good filtering is wonderful -- but only if I can check on and control what's being filtered. I don't need to miss messages because of a dumbed down service that wants to think for me.
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#7 User is offline   billthecat 

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  Posted 28 February 2013 - 11:02 AM

Filtering on "barely legal teen" doesn't even make any logical sense. I mean, barely legal is, well, legal.
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#8 User is offline   leicaman 

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  Posted 28 February 2013 - 11:14 AM

I've been a user of their service since iTools as well. But a new app on my iPhone is causing me to consider dropping iCloud as my main email. Mailbox. And indeed it promises to some day do iCloud as well. If only Google weren't such a lousy spy on my content it would be an easy decision.

Having some spammy emails filtered, or Google reading all my emails to customize ads aimed at me. Wait, Mailbox doesn't show Google's ads.

Seriously, Apple, it's this kind of thing that weakens your position.
Eric

Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity. - Martin Luther King, Jr.
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#9 User is offline   fjpoblam 

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  Posted 28 February 2013 - 11:17 AM

Ultimately, for me, all the more reason to switch to domain-managed email and avoid as much as possible the vagaries of free email services. Domain-managed email isn't perfect (it co$t$). But I have granular control over my own spam filtering, tedious as it may be.
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#10 User is offline   Derek 

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  Posted 28 February 2013 - 11:26 AM

Apple's mail system, going all the way back to DotMac, has had THE BEST spam filtering I've experienced. I have no problems with it, never have. I get possibly 1 spam per week. That's astounding. And I've never had anything get lost in the spam filters.

As an old spam hound, a senior user and contributor at SpamCop.net, I know one reason Apple's spam filter is so good. I contributed to it. For YEARS I would add notes to my spam reports pointing out anything associated with pornography with the message 'Imagine if a CHILD received this!'. And the spam blacklists responded. You can thank ME for the fact that Apple, and many other spam blacklist using services, specifically filter for ANYTHING porn related in email. I never want a child receiving this garbage, and am happy it has significantly come to pass in Apple's mail system.

IOW: This has to be the most worthless and wrong-minded rant fest I have ever read at MacWorld. Shameful.
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#11 User is offline   bubbamac 

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  Posted 28 February 2013 - 11:27 AM

I don't have a problem with this, with the exception that I don't have the ability to see the filtered emails.

What I'd really like to see is cloud (or server, really) based junk mail filtering so my junk filters from my Mac worked for all of my devices. Clearly the software exists, it's in use now. Sort of.
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#12 User is offline   TheBum 

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  Posted 28 February 2013 - 11:30 AM

Fortunately, the impact of this for me is minimal. I only use my iCloud account on my iDevices for messages forwarded from my Time Warner account, which in turn gets messages forwarded from my custom domain provider. I never really cared for IMAP for my laptop mail because it's too easy to completely wipe out a message everywhere accidentally. On my iDevices, I only want to keep e-mails that are currently relevant, so I don't mind a delete once, delete everywhere paradigm, especially since I have backups on my laptop.
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#13 User is online   Boulder1259 

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  Posted 28 February 2013 - 11:48 AM

Quote

I had this problem a few years ago, when it was still called MobileMe. At the time, emails from Netflix were being filtered before I ever saw them. You'd think that since Netflix was a very common email sender, it would have been fixed right away, but the issue was ongoing. The problem would also crop up with other senders. I'd report patterns of missing email to MobileMe support and would sometimes be told that it was taken care of (senders whitelisted, I guess), but I felt that I couldn't trust MobileMe to deliver my email, so I switched to Gmail. It sounds like iCloud has inherited this "service" of filtering out spam. I want to decide what is and isn't spam. Good filtering is wonderful -- but only if I can check on and control what's being filtered. I don't need to miss messages because of a dumbed down service that wants to think for me.


I have similar problems with gmail although at least with gmail I can go into the spam folder and retrieve valid messages.
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#14 User is offline   JohnHowelljl8s 

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  Posted 28 February 2013 - 11:59 AM

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I'm slowly ditching iCloud. .

Me also. When testing, Apple remove a mail about my barely legal teen son driving his first muscle car, but failed to remove messages with the phrases "[censored] sucking kids" and "nude pre-teens". The policy of filtering without considering context is straight from the 1990's, and the poor effectiveness of the spam filter makes it in useable anyway. Like you, all my personal mail is now through gmail. Icloud is only there for emergencies if gmail has a fault now.
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