Here today gone tomorrow?
Not when it comes to E-Mail!

When it comes to E-Mail a recent court case showed that there is no such thing as deleting or erasing an E-Mail message. It also goes to show that when it comes to E-Mail "anything" does not go. This year in Santa Ana, California, the first Federal conviction for making racial threats by E-Mail occurred. A Federal judge convicted Richard Machado of sending out mass E-Mailings that threatened to kill Asian students at the University of California, Irvine. It seems that Mr. Machado blamed the Asian students for getting such good grades that it raised the standard too high for others. So, Mr. Machado sent out mass E-Mailing threatening to "find and kill everyone of you personally".

In making their case against Mr. Machado, Federal investigators subpoenaed different Internet service providers to reconstruct the E-Mail messages sent by Mr. Machado. Even though the messages had been deleted, by both the sender and the recipient, a record along with the full text could still be found on one or more servers.

The point to this is: if you’re going to use the Internet along with E-Mail to harm or harass individuals, you’re going to be held increasingly accountable, both criminally and civilly.

Another point that needs to be understood by all persons using E-Mail is that there is no guaranty of privacy, or deletion. If you send it, somewhere there is going to be a copy of it. Never use E-Mail for anything confidential. A good rule of thumb is to just assume that anything you send will be seen by others. If that thought bothers you, don’t send it by E-Mail.


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Last modified: November 08, 2002