EMail Privacy

Did you know, as of 05.03.07, it is legal to post emails on blogs, web sites and other public forms of communication? It is also legal for you to forward an email to another "party", even if that other party was mentioned in that forwarded email.

You write to a business associate about one of your largest clients. That business partner then forwards that email to your boss. Your boss, in return calls you into his/her office and fires you.

Right now, you being fired over your email can not over-turned because all email is considered "public discussion" and is free to anyone. The only options available right now to protect you are 1. You stipulate that the email is private where you give an option to accept or deny 2. You send emails in an encrypted format 3. Your email has certificates 4. You have a clearly written Miranda stipulating the uses of said email and the actions needed to take place if you are not the original recipient.

Email is, and always was, considered to be "public" because sending an email is like speaking in a open public space; that no expectation of privacy exists. The reasoning is free email providers (GMail, Yahoo, MSN, AOL, Comcast, etc.) will keep a copy of the message sent or received which not exactly private.

This should all change if, and when Ned Snow, a University of Arkansas law professor, changes the law.

"The practice of email forwarding deprives email senders of privacy. Expression meant for only a specific recipient often finds its way into myriad inboxes or onto a public website, exposed for all to see. Simply by clicking the 'forward' button, email recipients routinely strip email senders of expressive privacy.

Under common-law copyright, authors held a right to control whether their correspondence was published to third parties. This common-law protection of private expression was nearly absolute, immune from any defense of 'fair use.' Accordingly, the routine practice of email forwarding would violate principles of common-law copyright. "

So just be careful with your emails. You could wind up in someone's office or on someone's blog.

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