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Strictly Confidential? July 26, 2010

Posted by Phil Groom in Random Musings.
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NO DOUBT YOU, like me, receive gazillions of emails that include some variation of the following in the footer:

This email (including any attachments) is confidential and is for the exclusive use of the intended recipient(s) only. If you are not the intended recipient you should delete it immediately and be aware that any use, dissemination, forwarding, printing, copying or reproduction of any of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.

What do you make of this kind of drivel? Have I just breached a confidentiality agreement by reproducing this part of that message here? The answer, of course, is no: whilst confidentiality can be requested, it cannot be demanded or even reasonably expected unless it has been agreed with the recipient in advance.

Wise up, beautiful people: email is not a secure medium. That’s presumably why you’ve included the footer message in first place: so why are you attempting to send supposedly confidential by email anyway?? Even worse of course, when it’s a bcc’d mass mailing: how does anyone know whether or not they’re one of your “intended recipient(s)”??

If you wish to send me confidential information, find another way — and even then, make sure you’ve secured a confidentiality agreement with me in advance, because if you haven’t, rest assured, your message — if it deserves any attention at all — will be disseminated, forwarded, copied and reproduced; but you can relax on one front: I’m unlikely to waste paper & ink printing it.

Thank you.

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