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The Illusion of Email Privacy

Email communications is probably a topic that many of us hardly think of; we send and receive many emails a day, without a thought. Not only do many of us neglect to consider the process of an email; but more importantly, the lack of privacy of an email. Billions of emails per day are sent and received, their contents being confidential or not, but certainly available-in many cases-for public viewing. While most of us do not even give it a second thought, that the personal emails we send to our loved ones or the confidential ones we send regarding sensitive business information; could all be subject to viewing by another party.

While the topic of email privacy and governmental privacy regulation is a constantly evolving identity; there are some common themes to certainly be aware of-if you spend any time emailing or receiving emails. The these two most central subjects of communications privacy are: how the avenue of communications privacy is characterized by employer work policies-that is email sent out during work hours, and also general privacy issues in relation to how businesses contain sensitive information-both business info as well as personal information of their clients. In the following category on email and privacy, we examine both of these topics in an effort to better understand exactly how private our email communications are, who might be viewing them, and what rights to email privacy we may or may not have-as regards legislation.

One thing to be clear of before beginning any discussion of the policies or debates concerning online privacy and privacy of our email communications, is that any information sent and saved on the Internet is open for scrutiny. This is not to say it is necessarily by legal means that other parties other than the intended, read your emails; but rather, that if it is out there to be found-and this typically, will not be as easy with in-house pop3 or imap services-it could quite possibly be found by a party who doesn?t have the best interests of you and/or your personal and business communications in mind. With this in mind as a preface, we will begin our discussion on how privacy in email communication can easily be an illusion.

One of the most common misnomers when dealing with emails sent and received at a person?s workplace is that all of this communication is confidential to the employee. To the contrary, all emails received on work time, with the use of the work computer is the property of the employer. This said, all the personal emails you may be receiving and sending are also subject to your employer?s viewing. In most cases, employers do not review every email sent or received on their server, but often, something will happen to make them curious-and voila: the emails are read. Moreover, any information sent or received at work-must be kept confidential to the workplace only; as many businesses have trade secrets, client information, etc that is highly sensitive-and keeping it private to the company is also the employee?s responsibility. In this section, we examine these topics of privacy in the workplace to better educate someone on how their email communications relate to their work.

It isn?t just the employee that should curtail their email communications in respect to ensuring all information that should be kept private, is. In fact, many businesses are founded upon a commitment to safeguarding their clients? information from spammers or anyone else-who might use it for their own evil purposes. In this section, we examine the most pressing of general communications privacy issues that might arise in today?s world-as a result of so much information being sent and received over the Internet today.

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