Email Confidentiality Footers

> This email message is for the sole use of the intended > recipient(s) and may contain confidential and privileged > information. Any unauthorized review, use, disclosure or > distribution is prohibited. If you are not the intended > recipient, please contact the sender by reply email and destroy > all copies of the original message.

Ah, where to begin…

How about the fact that email works by making copy after copy. If you sent me this, then there are a jillion “copies of the original” between your computer and mine. I simply can’t reliably destroy them all. (Well, maybe…)

If it may contain confidential information, then why are you sending it via email? And without so much as PGP encrypting it? I know that PGP’s only been around for like 20 years now, so it’s pretty new, but still. Get on that. It’s integrated in every email mail client, and it’s not too hard to use.

But even more worryingly, this little footer just seems profoundly odd. It’s asking me to do something based on the sender’s intent. How am I supposed to know if I’m the intended recipient? Should I guess that the sender doesn’t know how to use email, and just whacks the Reply-All button like a drunken ape?

Sorry. We’re 10% of the way through the 21st century now. You’re expected to know how to use a technology that’s been around for 40 years. It’s not my responsibility if you send something to the wrong person.

In the end, this is just a bit of unenforceable legalese that makes people feel more official, and it’s complete trash. It’s the digital equivalent of tossing your Starbucks cup out the window on the highway.