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Saturday, December 27, 2014

WHY CAN’T WE DELETE EMAILS?


WHY CAN’T WE DELETE EMAILS?
A cranky opinion for
CRANKY OPINION SATURDAY
The following opinion is from a cranky old man with little knowledge on the subject opined.  Opposing opinions will be ignored, but are welcome.  As always, please, no name calling and that means you, you big stupid head!

In light of the hacking of SONY emails, is it time to treat this form of communication the same as we treat any verbal or written communication?  As much as corporations and government try to educate their personnel about use of emails and the fact that anything they say can be subpoenaed, or hacked, and cannot be deleted for 7 (?) years, most people treat emails as casual conversation.
Phone conversations at work are not required to be recorded and saved.  Your every casual comment to the guy in the next cubical is not recorded and saved.  Printed memos and letters can be shredded.  Why is every email and text message saved?  Why can’t we press delete and actually delete?
“Well, if you don’t want what you say published or used as evidence in court, don’t say it on email.”
Let me say to the above assertion, what about text messages and instant messages?
In this digital age, emails, texts and instant messages have replaced face to face conversation.  It is difficult if not impossible to filter and measure everything you ever put on email or texts; their very nature is off the cuff communication. 
People shuddered to think of the “Big Brother” world of George Orwell, but we are slowly moving in that direction.  Cameras at stop lights and security points capture thieves and traffic violations.  OK, good stuff; but when does it become an invasion of privacy?  When do these security cameras put a time line on your personal behavior that can be used to embarrass or humiliate you?  Good thing?  Sometimes but…
There is a call for constant monitoring of the police via attached GoPro type cameras.  Good thing?  In some circumstances YES.  In others, will it change the way police do their job?  Would you like to have your every movement monitored, your every statement made while on your job recorded?  People who ride a high horse all the way up the moral high ground will say,
“Who cares if you have nothing to hide?”
I care.  I have said things that I do not really mean.  I have told an inappropriate joke, I do not ride that horse.  Often what I say might be said in a manner that will be misinterpreted by people that do not know me.  In addition, videos and emails can be edited to take on a meaning not intended by the person being monitored.
In court, we can plead the fifth.  We are not required to testify against our self.  Why do we not get the same privilege in our everyday life?  If I say something in an email or text that I regret for whatever reason, should I not be able to plead the fifth by way of hitting the delete button. 
Ninety percent of verbal communication is facial expression and intonation.  I can send an email to a friend and he will infer my expression and intonation simply because he knows me.  A message to a friend or coworker who knows me will have a completely different meaning than its interpretation by a judge or an adversary.
How important is privacy?  How much are you willing to give up?  Access to peoples email communication is an effective means of determining criminal action or in judging a persons character, but at what cost? 
When we are naked to the world our flaws are exposed. 
Sometimes that is a good thing, sometimes that is just cruel and unfair.
The preceding was the opinion of a cranky old man, and not necessarily that of management…Mrs. Cranky.     

19 comments:

  1. deciding just where the dividing line should go is probably one of the trickiest problems in the world, but I agree with you that in many cases it has been set too close to the 1984 world of George Orwell.

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  2. you're right about the written word being misconstrued so easily since no intonation or look goes with it.

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  3. Yep, pretty soon they will monitor what we think. Oh wait, their in the process now.

    I agree that sometimes it's a good thing, but mostly it's a bad thing.

    Have a fabulous day. ☺

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  4. I do believe it would be best id delete meant delete. Technology is great but for every advancement there's a step backwards, in this case privacy.

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  5. I agree with all you say but the problem with technology is that we can delete all we like but there's still another copy out there.. and if there's one copy, there are unlimited ways our words can be accessed.

    It is indeed so easy to have our words misconstrued when they're in text only. Lack of punctuation alone can change meaning. As technology advances, new problems always arise. We just need the wisdom to know what to do about them.

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  6. I don't want my kids arrested for texting "Let's eat grandma."

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  7. Douglas Adams said, "We are stuck with technology when what we really want is just stuff that works."

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  8. I hope y'all had a great Christmas and that 2015 is the best year yet for you and your family.
    Rick

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  9. I dunno, Cranky.
    I think maybe if everyone knows that someone's checking up on them they just might pay closer attention in school and learn the proper use of know and no; too, to, and two; there, their, and they're ...well you get the idea ...and maybe they'll pay more attention to spelling, as well?

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  10. We can shred a paper letter; too bad there's no way to shred an email.

    betty

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  11. You pose some interesting questions, Joe.

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  12. This constant surveillance is for the birds. Do you know how difficult it is to pull your underwear out of your butt when you get out of the car on the school parking lot? IMPOSSIBLE without somebody watching on the parking lot camera, the door camera, or the hall cameras. Which means you have to walk with your granny panties wedged between your buttocks all the way into the classroom, where you have a brief respite to readjust before the kids come in and sneak their phones out against the rules.

    Work emails are monitored. I rarely send any except for bare-bones facts. I don't plan on becoming famous, so I doubt any personal emails will come back to haunt me.

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  13. Live by computers, die by computers. Emails at work are my "paper trail", but I NEVER say anything in an email that I wouldn't want to be known publicly. Once you press send you're not in control, and you can't deny you said it. Stay tuned...I predict you'll see our highly computerized society someday crash and burn. It is becoming ridiculously easy for someone to hack and scramble our computers and still maintain plausible deniability. Forget about bad guys nukeing us...this is how they will hurt us.

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  14. This just in... "J" arrested for publishing the message "Let's eat grandma."

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  15. Yes, we do have people watching. Someone will soon invent an electronic tone of voice to add to our emails and texts which should help a bit. Till then, we just have to rely on cautious judgment.

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  16. I clear my emails on a regular basis, sometimes daily, but always as soon as I've sent on the funny ones to my friends. The I go to my "sent" folder and clear that, next I clear the spam, finally I empty the "trash" folder. At the end of the day, before I shut down the computer I empty the recycle bin. No one has ever told me I can't and why would I let it build up and use my available disc space?

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    Replies
    1. Beyond smashing your hard drive, forensic computer experts can recover many of those "deleted" emails. In the US, corporations and government agencies are REQUIRED to save electronic correspondence even though you delete it from your own office file. They can be subpoenaed by courts and if there are gaps, the firm can be in trouble.

      Delete
  17. There is a definite move towards non-permanent data online. Aside from anything else people are starting to realise there's just not enough storage capacity to keep everything forever. Our expectations from data have just got ridiculous. On a personal level I've also recently started deleting emails more often. Workplaces will (eventually) follow but it will be forced on them, probably by more workers just deleting emails as the new habit takes hold.

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  18. An e-mail is the new proverbial memo and as such has great importance from a legal and from a business perspective. Much like a memo, law makes no distinction between business vs personal when delivered in a business context of any sort. As a job-specific hazard I have been sending e-mails since their inception and the policy has always been retain for a minimum 5 years, preferably 10. And yes, there are a record of all of my e-mails going back even prior to that.

    "And what if our words lingered for time immemorial, perhaps until eternity. How different our chosen words might be if we truly understood." Xavier, 'The History of Technology' 1983.

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