Thursday, July 22, 2010

Virtual E-mail Shredder 1

In the middle of our Committee’s over-extended coffeebreak in Congress, my boss suddenly told me to check his computer. Grinning like a kid, he pointed out to the screen and said, “Astig, o. Self-destructing email c/o Useful yan. Useful.” Then he went on and on glazing over his latest Google discovery. But I wasn’t listening anymore. I just stared, wondering if my boss planned to use this stuff for work.

That aside, there is some sense in utilizing self-destructing emails. Sending emails has become one of the popular means of communication. Some people even claim that it has overridden the need for snail mail and has shoved it as part of “ancient history” . For instance, Meralco and Citibank now sends soft copies of bills to their clients’ email addresses, should the customers opt to. It is through email that office memos, reports and minutes of meetings are forwarded. Just like during my summer OLA, our team circulated reminders via emails. Sometimes, we used it for shout-outs as well (ie. “Sinong merong kopya ng MR? Pa-email naman.”). To a certain extent, emails replaced telephone calls and face-to-face conversations (especially when it comes to keeping in touch with friends and relatives living in different timezones). However, thoughtlessly worded emails may come back to haunt its creator. It may bite the very hand that typed them. As Amy Harmon said in her 11 November 1998 article, an “…old e-mail can be a mine of legal liability, not to mention a source of public embarrassment.” The solution? Self-destructing emails.

So the next time you feel you’re sending something containing sensitive, embarrassing or incriminating (for reasons beyond you and me), just consider this. :D

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