Wednesday, September 26, 2007

E- Mail Disclaimers and Privacy

I've wondered for some time about the ethics of e- mail and related privacy issues. I got to thinking about it again when the so- called disclaimer in the Arkley apology e-mail was brought to light.

I'm just guessing, but I would assume that disclaimer is the signature on the bottom of most, if not every, e- mail sent out by Security National, Rob Arkley's e- mails having been fed to the press by various recipients before, but does that disclaimer really have any weight?

The first paragraph seems to be an attempt to guard against someone releasing said e- mail to anyone not intended as the recipient. I suppose that might have some weight if someone who the e-mail wasn't intended for came across it and pretty much stole the e-mail.

Let's say someone was playing around with someone's computer, found some strange e-mail, and sent it to the press. I'd say that would certainly be grounds for civil action, if not criminal action, disclaimer included on the e-mail or not.

But what if someone sends an e-mail that is unsolicited? Let's assume Larry Glass wasn't on the Eureka City Council (e-mails going to city hall becoming public property)? If he was just owner of The Works and had the same beef with Arkley, and Arkley sent him an apology via e-mail, would Glass be obliged to keep the contents of the e- mail from the press as per the disclaimer?

I should think not, as Glass did not ask for the e-mail to be sent to him. It seems out of bounds to me that anybody should send someone an e-mail and insist the contents remain private.

Sure, it might be rude to publicly release e-mails but, absent an existing agreement between the parties involved, I don't see how anyone can insist that someone not divulge the contents of an e-mail they sent unrequested.
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As I've said, I think it's often rude to release private e-mails between two people. I've thought it was rude that some of the e-mails we've seen disclosed in the local papers over the last few years were released. Sometimes I don't have a problem with it.

I figure e-mails from mailing lists that are open to the general public are fair game for release. I've passed a few of those around in my time. If someone is sending out mass e-mailings to pretty much anyone, I figure that makes it safe to assume it's ok to pass them out to others.

Didn't Salzman, or someone, start issuing some disclaimer to their e-mail lists a while back to try and keep list e-mail from being released?

Unsoliticited e-mails, regardless of the contents are still a gray area with me. If someone personally sends me something that might not be the kind of thing that the person would want made public, I figure it's only fair to keep it to myself, although by sending an e-mail everyone needs to realize there's the possibility not all recipients might feel the same way I do.

Sometimes I think it's more than fair to release certain e-mails. Back on September 4, 2005 I made a post here about some somewhat threatening e-mails I received as a result of some posts I made on the Redwood Peace and Justice Center e-mail lists.

That was mostly in regards our very own (I think), Al Baston. He didn't like a libertarian reaching out to his lefty friends on common interests via that e-mail list so kinda threatened me to stop using the list.

I've kept sometimes hostile e-mail sent by others to myself before, but I felt his were over the top, especially for someone on the Redwood PEACE and Justice Center e-mail list.

So, not only did I blog about e-mail terrorists, I sent an e-mail over the RPJC discuss e-mail list with Al Baston's e-mails accompanying it and suggested if others had a problem with me posting to that list, they should take it up with the RPJC leadership and perhaps have me removed from the list. I'm still on that list.

Certainly Al Baston's letters to me were fair game for public exposure. Just where to draw the line, I don't know. But I think these disclaimers like Rob Arkley had in his apology letter are likely of dubious legal value.

Anybody out there think all e-mail should be public property, or all e-mail should remain private?


32 Comments:

At 1:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fred: the confidentiality and disclaimers are to protect against an improperly received or intercepted e-mail. If someone sends it to you, you are free to release it to anyone. Period. There is no disclaimer or confidentiality statement that will prevent disclosure. What Glass and what Salzman are trying to do is to use this to muddle the waters. Glass didn’t want to disclose his e-mail, so he misled the public. Salzman tried to intimidate receivers of his e-mails from disclosing them. Another lame attempt. But from two such manipulative men, it doesn’t surprise me at all.

 
At 1:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fred,
Your link: "September 4, 2005" is broken.

 
At 2:49 PM, Blogger Fred said...

Hmmm...well try this one:
http://humboldtlib.blogspot.com/2005_09_01_archive.html

If that doesn't work, click on the September 2004 archive in the right sidebar. Then scroll down to Sept. 4.

 
At 3:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Privacy disclaimers have no legal standing. To start with, unless the e-mail was encrypted from sender to receiver, the very idea is laughable. E-mail is as private as sending a postcard. I laugh when I see an organization using those disclaimers. They have no meaning or power except in the mind of the person reading them.

 
At 4:31 PM, Blogger hucktunes said...

I agree. The disclaimer has no legal binding. I think that Larry published the disclaimer to show that he received the email but was not willing to release it. He is, after all, a gentleman. It seems that many folks are willing to politicize most any action, even an honorable one.

 
At 4:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

All or nothing, Fred? Why doesn't that surprise me.

I really think the main problem you authoritarians have is that everything has to be black or white. You need to learn to discriminate and reason things out. But at your age that is probably expecting way too much.

 
At 6:04 PM, Blogger kaivalya said...

It seems to me that email sent to any governmental domain is inherently public.

Conversely, email sent to a private domain is private and subject to contract agreements with service providers.

 
At 2:08 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Uhh, say what Huck? Larry politicized the apology by claiming it wasn't an apology. Making political hay sullied the victimhood status he rightfully enjoyed. I don't trust anything Larry or Arkley say now. They are two peas in a pod.

 
At 8:59 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anybody get a load of what was in the TS today.

Gee - why do they think that they are the carriers of wisdom and what is acceptable or nonacceptable?

I think this whole Arkley Glass thing is a great waste of time, money and resources. Can someone tell me how Glass was threatened with physical injury or injury to his property? Can someone also tell me that this doesn't happen every day in every aspect of our government.

No, this is a great waste of energy. I would rather we center on crime, transportation, global warming, the economy, housing, employment, schools....but evidently that is too mundane for the TS and other one issue folks in HumCo.

 
At 12:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry 8:59, we're fighting and dying in Iraq right now to bring freedom from fear of gangs and bullies to average citizens. We owe it to ourselves to have nothing less in this country.

Intimdation of public officials is a serious crime and if allowed to continue results in tyranny of warlords and strongmen.

Whatever happened at the Avalon should be investigated, disclosed, and due process observed. Some of the many people there saw what happened. If they're too afraid to speak out in public they should be compelled to speak out to law enforcement or a criminal grand jury.

 
At 6:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree 12:47, but at this point you are basing your opinion on a guy who is playing politics with the definition of "apology." You are placing a lot of faith in someone who has demonstrated he isn't worthy. Let's see what the witnesses say transpired.

 
At 8:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

OK 6:26 An elected official has made allegations in his elected capacity of serious wrongdoing. I believe he is a legitimate representative, elected democratically. He deserves respect that the position he holds merits.

Your personal opinions about him constitute prejudice and would disqualify you from conducting a fair investigation. As a patriot, I depend on our legal system to administer laws. We depend on impartial people, to the extent we can find them, to collect, examine, and weigh the evidence before charges are made.

 
At 8:53 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

See that is where we disagree. I don't consider this "serious wrongdoing". It is an everyday occurence and I am disgusted that I have to keep reading about it.

Larry needs to grow up and get a spine.

 
At 11:27 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't believe being threatened is an "everyday occurance". But if it happened to me, especially by someone who I personally know and knows me, I would definitely report it to the police.

Having a "spine" has nothing to do with tolerating lawlessness. In fact, in a criminally dominated area, its takes a lot of "spine" to defy the self appointed hoods, thugs, and bullies who claim to be "in charge" and extort protection money. 8:53 needs to move to Ruanda, Iraq, Somalis, Afghanistan, East LA, or West Oakland if you want to live without rule of law and enforce your personal concepts of justice.

 
At 2:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jeez - this has nothing to do with lawlessness. Having an opponent threaten to "destroy you" is lawlessness?

Stay away from capitol hill peter pan.

 
At 4:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

2:03 Don't go putting words in Glass's complaint. His complaint, which you and I haven't seen is being investigated. Any threat can be a crime. But, if you're an elected official, a threat of the type Glass says he received is treason. That's serious.

 
At 10:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Like you care about TREASON.

 
At 8:17 AM, Blogger ΛΕΟΝΙΔΑΣ said...

4:56PM, Perhaps you should educate yourself on the elements of the crime of "TREASON ". There are not anywhere near enough prisons to hold every citizen who has strenuously berated a petty public official.

 
At 9:30 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just becaus elaws aren't always enforced doesn't mean they have no relevance. Every speeder isn't arrested so do you justfy speeding on that basis?

 
At 12:21 PM, Blogger ΛΕΟΝΙΔΑΣ said...

What are "elaws"? Cut the straw man bullsh*t and define "speeding". Do you mean driving down Broadway at 3:00AM @ 4 mph over the posted limit? I linked to the understood definition of treason, now you define "speeding" without including the elements of reckless driving (23103 CVC). A posting on this subject is here.

 
At 12:33 PM, Anonymous big al said...

9:30AM: "Just becaus elaws aren't always enforced doesn't mean they have no relevance."
Are you referring to the anti wetback laws?

 
At 4:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

One definition of treason:

1. the offense of acting to overthrow one's government or to harm or kill its sovereign.

I'd say that encompasses threatening or inflicting bodily harm on public officials in their official capacity.

 
At 5:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Under baseball rules, if you push an umpire, you get ejected. It's simple.

Under California law, if you push a city councilman, you break the law. It's simple.

Oh, but it's a billionaire doing the pushing! That makes it different.

 
At 5:28 PM, Blogger Fred said...

Which, as you describe it, would include threatening a public official with removal from office if they don't follow what an individual wants:

"I'll be sure and run against you if you insist on going along with this project. If I don't, we'll find somebody else who will...".

Nonsense. People regularly threaten people with removal from office, and worse, when politics are involved.

Interesting to hear this from what seems to be coming from a lefty.

I'm sure Kerrigan has run afoul of the Arkleys for longer than Glass has, and Kerrigan seems fine.

Problem with Glass, is I think he made it into a personal thing. Not so much Glass, himself. He just got so involved in the anti- Arkley thing that Arkley took it personal.

I'd suggest that surprised Glass, who was probably just approaching Arkley, for the first time, to maybe establish some rapport with him.

 
At 8:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, Right. Glass is our sovereign ergo the next election opponent he has is guilty of "treason".

 
At 9:54 PM, Blogger Rose said...

Oh, but it's a billionaire doing the pushing! That makes it different.

See, that's where you're wrong. Those of us who think this is no big deal don't care whether it is a billionaire or a homeless guy. It's a big "SO WHAT!?!"

But for you guys, the fact that it is Rob Arkley makes ALL the difference. Whether it is because you believe that he, unlike others, has the means to deliver on the "threat" or because you see this as a major opportunity to bring down a political rival, you definitely think that his money makes it different.

 
At 2:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry Fred, you're so twisted and backward. In America, being a political opponent doesn't threaten the existing government. In fact, its the opposite, by standing and running in an election, a person supports our government by participating in it under the laws by which it was established. Elections are the means to change the government NOT overthrow it.

But threatening harm to an official, unless they perform their duties in a particular way, is an attempt to overthrow the elected and valid government.

 
At 2:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rose, give it up. 5:21 was being sarcastic. Most of the folks upset with Arkley would also be upset at a homeless person who pushed a cop. And you'd be the first to agree that the homeless person committed an offense and should be charged with a crime.

But when Arkley is the pusher, you're all "don't care". You're the one concerned very much who pushes who and depending who it is, you care or not care.

 
At 5:24 PM, Blogger Rose said...

Pushing a cop. 2:12, is a very different thing, and would be a very stupid mistake.

 
At 6:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Like I wrote if Arkley pushes a public official, to Rose it "no big deal". But if a cop(public official) gets pushed, she's all hot and bothered. Just like I predicted. Its not a very different thing, they're both disrespect for the authority and legitimacy of the Government. Perhaps the punishment should be different, thats a matter for ajudge to decide based on the particular facts.

 
At 9:08 PM, Blogger Rose said...

6:43, if YOU push a public official, I would not think it was any big deal. If you told him you were going to destroy him, I would not think it was any big deal. I might think it was stupid and unfortunate, but not a big deal. I might think you were a jerk, but no big deal.

If you push a cop, well.... what can I tell ya? If you haven't figured out the difference, and really really really want this to be a big deal, more power to ya.

 
At 3:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Everyone knows what you think Rose and nobody cares.

 

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