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.