Tech Officers Updates

Small Business Security: Useless Email Legal Disclaimers

By January 27, 2015 No Comments

We often receive questions about email disclaimers. Should I do it? Does it work? What are our thoughts on this?

First, we’re not lawyers. We’re tech folks. But being practical and logical, would you walk down the street with a sign displaying your credit card number? You most likely wouldn’t. So why would you send confidential or sensitive information over unencrypted, insecure email? And unless there’s explicit permission for electronic authorization, a written email does not a contract make.

But let’s back-up a step. There are laws against theft. Does that stop a criminal from stealing? Do you actually think your disclaimer will stop someone from using the information in your email message for nefarious purposes? If you don’t want someone to “steal” or “see” what’s in your email, then don’t send it OR send it securely via encrypted messaging.

In The Economist’s article on this topic, they say:
[Disclaimers] are assumed to be a wise precaution. But they are mostly, legally speaking, pointless. Lawyers and experts on internet policy say no court case has ever turned on the presence or absence of such an automatic e-mail footer in America, the most litigious of rich countries.

So quite simply, stop creating noise in your email communications. If you have private, sensitive, or secure information to send, don’t send it via unencrypted email.