Friday, February 24, 2006

Email and Privacy

We tend to think of email as private. I had a reminder yesterday that it is not. Now, most of the time it wouldn’t matter if someone else read my email. Yesterday it did. Yesterday I wrote an email and the person to whom I sent it accidentally marked it as spam. So the message, stripped of identifying headers, got sent back to the people who host my email service. And they forwarded it back to me with a note requesting I try to get myself un-marked as spam on AOL. (If anyone is on AOL and isn’t getting email you expect from me.....check your spam box!)

It didn’t include financial information or identity information such as a social security number but it did include some things I’d rather have kept private. (No, not THAT! Get your minds out of the gutter...) It was hurtful things someone once close to me had said and which I suppose I’m still afraid some people might believe are true.

Anyway, I thought it would be a good idea to post here about how while we may believe email is private; it isn’t as private as we think. Anyone might accidentally mark email spam and then someone at your ISP will see it.

Just a friendly reminder so that all of you won’t have the rather embarrassing experience I did yesterday!

April

1 comment:

Sharona N said...

April,

I use McAfee, and the durned spam filter marks nearly everything I receive as spam! Usually I remember to strip the SPAM out when I reply to someone, but sometimes I don't, and people think *I'm* marking the email as spam. So--it may not be the person who marked your email. It may be their antivirus/firewall/spam filter, and it happens automatically unless you turn off the filter.

Your story makes me realize I want to turn the stupid filter off. It doesn't seem to do much good, anyway!

Sorry about the invasion of your privacy. :-(

Sharona