June 10, 2010

Are Email Disclaimers Enforceable?

I noticed the following at the bottom of an email message:

This email may be privileged and confidential. Any dissemination or use of this information by a person other than the intended recipient(s) is not authorized. The sender accepts no responsibility or liability for any errors and omissions, loss or damage from use (including damage from viruses), or breach of any confidentiality related to the contents of this message which arises as a result of email transmission.

This strikes me as being so strange.

What does it mean, "may be privileged and confidential"? How do I tell?

How do I know who is the intended recipient? Sometimes that is not evident. How do I know for sure that I may not be an intended recipient? Isn't the onus on the sender to ensure the message is being sent to the correct address?

And what's this "damage from viruses" bafflegab? It's your responsibility to keep your computer secure, not mine.

As for the claptrap about confidentiality of information, email by nature is a wide-open medium. Messages pass through dozens of servers on their way across the Internet. If you want/need to ensure confidentiality, well, encrypt the message.

Posted by Paul at June 10, 2010 11:24 PM