There are some
common misconceptions regarding e-mail sent through 'normal' channels.
Here are some of the most common ones.
can be deleted. Reality: By using utilities or by checking
recipients' workstations, they can very often be recovered. Most messages
are also archived by ISPs.
get "lost" among the millions being sent around the Internet. Reality:
Sophisticated search tools, such as the FBI's Carnivore program, let
their users find almost any email sent through 'normal' means.
go to the people you address them to. Reality: Emails are often
distributed broadly to people you might not even know because of forwarding.
made in email aren't that powerful. Reality: Even if unintended
by the author, certain comments or idle remarks can be perceived as
threats or harassment. For example, referring to a coworker as a "dinosaur"
can become the basis for an age discrimination lawsuit.
can send emails from work in a personal capacity. Reality:
When sent over company systems, the law recognizes emails as official
company communications regardless of the content. Potential exposure
is created each time an employee uses corporate email to send personal
messages to friends.
email messages are private. Reality: Emails can be accessed
as part of an investigation and create liability for individuals and
identity is protected through email communications. Reality:
Using normal email, it is extremely easy to duplicate someone's identity
for the purpose of sending fraudulent email messages, and equally
easy for authorities to determine your identity.