What is Email Privacy and do We Really Possess One?

In this age of computer technologies, many of us would think that email privacy is something that comes as is. Email might seem something really private, one-to-one dialogue that is safe from third party views. But it is not that confidential as many would assume it to be. The sad reality is that even deleted messages can be reconstructed and read and sometimes even be used against you.

These are some of the cases where third parties can read your emails:

  • If your firm is involved in a lawsuit, the adversary can review your emails
  • Every time you send an email at work
  • If you are a crime suspect, the law enforcement authorities with a warrant can review your email
  • If you send an email from your phone or home PC, hackers can hack your accounts and share your data online

It is important to note that The Email Privacy Act came to amend the Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986 this year. Now, the US government should obtain a warrant in order to access emails, social media posts, and other digital data.

This is a huge step forward towards helping people maintain web confidentiality and email privacy. Nowadays, we spend a considerable amount of our time on communicating online. And, of course, we hope that our correspondence will remain private. As a matter of fact, the Act makes it illegal for the third parties to acquire our private correspondence.

However, things are different with workplace email. A company might have its own rules regarding email privacy of its employees. This means that the Electronic Communications Privacy Act might not come to your rescue. In most states, the employer has got the right to review an employee’s workplace email. Such laws rule in other countries as well, for example, Canada.

Nevertheless, ensuring that emails be confidential does not require too much effort. You should just opt for quality service providers or take a few easy steps to encrypt your messages. If you search the web, you will definitely find a few useful email encryption tools to help you secure your online correspondence. The logic behind such tools is simple and the steps you and the message recipient take are the following:

  • You get a decryption key or a password from the tool/service provider
  • You tell that key to the recipient
  • After they receive your message, they should enter that key/password to be able to read the message

ProtonMail, Mailvelope, Mailpile, and Tutanota are some such tools. They will help encrypt your messages and maintain so much desired email privacy. Hence, next time you want to tell a joke about your boss to a colleague, make sure you use safer email to do so.

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