• Create BookmarkCreate Bookmark
  • Create Note or TagCreate Note or Tag
  • PrintPrint
Share this Page URL

Chapter 1. E-mail: The Good, the Bad, & ... > SOME E-STORIES ARE GETTING UGLY


Irresponsible users of e-mail have gotten themselves and their organizations in some trouble. Here are some examples:

  • Clogged database. One large telecommunications company has had to close down its server for maintenance because employees were not keeping their mailboxes tidy. The database became so clogged that it could no longer function, and employees could not use their e-mail for hours each time.

  • E-mail evidence seized. One large software company involved in a major federal lawsuit has had to turn over some e-mail messages that were used as evidence against the company.

  • Stolen secrets. Our national security was threatened when the Chinese stole defense secrets from Los Alamos National Laboratory that were shared by U.S. government personnel via e-mail.

  • Sexual harassment suits. Companies are being sued for sexual harassment violations because employees send jokes and pictures considered offensive by some people. One large oil company settled for $2.2 million for allowing their e-mail system to be used for “transmitting sexually offensive information.”

  • Secret love affairs. At one company, two coworkers were carrying on a secret love affair. The man e-mailed the woman a message that read, “At last we have found a way we can communicate at work and still have privacy!” He then proceeded to hit the wrong key, and the message was sent to everyone in the office on a distribution list!

    “There have been many instances of love notes, confidential information, and nasty remarks getting broadcast to the wrong people.”

    —Tittel and Robbins, 1994

  • Digital faux pas. One manager replied to a party invitation from a friend and tossed in some gossip about a coworker he disliked. He was surprised when a half-dozen other people responded. The manager had accidentally hit “Reply to All” instead of just “Reply,” sending his rude comment to many of the office workers, including a number of the coworker's friends. He was too embarrassed to attend the party.

  • Computer viruses. Computer viruses are most commonly spread through e-mail. Novice e-mail users who have not yet learned to manage their e-mail may open everything they receive in their mailboxes. This practice is especially dangerous when a virus is making the rounds. The Melissa virus crippled many large organizations for days when it circulated through e-mail. Some users caution never to open e-mails without recognizing and trusting the sender.



Not a subscriber?

Start A Free Trial

  • Creative Edge
  • Create BookmarkCreate Bookmark
  • Create Note or TagCreate Note or Tag
  • PrintPrint