Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

You've got mail trouble

Filed under
Misc

Alberto Gonzales won't do it anymore, and President Bush hasn't done it in years.

It got Harry Stonecipher fired from the top post at Boeing Co., and it earned investment banker Frank Quattrone an 18-month prison sentence.

The culprit? E-mail.

Indispensable for uniting workplaces and private lives, e-mail has proven adept at bringing down highflying careers as well. Those billions of electronic messages lurking in cyberspace have provided the smoking gun in scandal after scandal.

Among top officials in government and business, balancing the benefits of e-mail with its potential pitfalls has become a difficult judgment call. With the number of messages skyrocketing, nearly every corporation and arm of government has imposed common-sense guidelines for e-mailing. Many use sophisticated software to actively monitor traffic for potential problems.

Nevertheless, some high-profile individuals have concluded that the risks of e-mail outweigh the benefits. Their decisions may hold lessons for less prominent members of society who currently e-mail, send instant messages and blog with abandon. And they point to a continuing erosion of privacy as digital communication advances.

Atty. Gen. Gonzales told the Chicago Tribune editorial board last week that he worries about "perfectly innocent" electronic communication being twisted by critics of the administration. With that in mind, he has gone cold turkey: "I don't get e-mail and I don't send e-mail," he said.

His boss, President Bush, has sworn off e-mail as well. Once an avid e-mailer, Bush sent his last cyber-message in the days before his 2001 inauguration, telling friends and family that his correspondence would be considered a public record from the moment he took office.

In a speech before the American Society of Newspaper Editors this spring, Bush explained that he was forced to give up e-mail to prevent the disclosure of "personal stuff," such as correspondence with his daughters. "I've made an easy decision there," he said. "I just don't do it. Which is sad, really, when you think about it."

Top lawyers have been urging that kind of caution for years. E-mail is dangerously overused, said Robert Morvillo, the New York defense attorney who defended Martha Stewart in a criminal case involving a disputed e-mail. "They pop up in virtually every investigation. It's almost like a legal wiretap."

Awareness of the risks is spreading outward from corner offices in Manhattan and Washington, D.C.--the nation's epicenters of high-profile e-mail gaffes. Executives in California still hit the send button far too much for their own good, said Chicago corporate lawyer Robert Tarun. "E-mail traffic among high-level execs decreases from the West Coast to the East Coast, but the West is learning."

The high-level paranoia about the perils of e-mail comes amid booming usage. The number of active electronic mailboxes in the world has more than tripled in the past five years to 1.1 billion, according to the Radicati Group Inc., a California research firm. Messages exceed 20 billion a day.

For every prominent person who steers clear of e-mail, many others embrace it.

Full Article.

More in Tux Machines

Linux Mint 18.1 Is The Best Mint Yet

The hardcore Linux geeks won’t read this article. They’ll skip right past it… They don’t like Linux Mint much. There’s a good reason for them not to; it’s not designed for them. Linux Mint is for folks who want a stable, elegant desktop operating system that they don’t want to have to constantly tinker with. Anyone who is into Linux will find Mint rather boring because it can get as close to the bleeding edge of computer technology. That said, most of those same hardcore geeks will privately tell you that they’ve put Linux Mint on their Mom’s computer and she just loves it. Linux Mint is great for Mom. It’s stable, offers everything she needs and its familiar UI is easy for Windows refugees to figure out. If you think of Arch Linux as a finicky, high-performance sports car then Linux Mint is a reliable station wagon. The kind of car your Mom would drive. Well, I have always liked station wagons myself and if you’ve read this far then I guess you do, too. A ride in a nice station wagon, loaded with creature comforts, cold blowing AC, and a good sound system can be very relaxing, indeed. Read more

Make Gnome 3 more accessible for everyday use

Gnome 3 is a desktop environment that was created to fix a problem that did not exist. Much like PulseAudio, Wayland and Systemd, it's there to give developers a job, while offering no clear benefit over the original problem. The Gnome 2 desktop was fast, lithe, simple, and elegant, and its replacement is none of that. Maybe the presentation layer is a little less busy and you can search a bit more quickly, but that's about as far as the list of advantages goes, which is a pretty grim result for five years of coding. Despite my reservation toward Gnome 3, I still find it to be a little bit more suitable for general consumption than in the past. Some of the silly early decisions have been largely reverted, and a wee bit more sane functionality added. Not enough. Which is why I'd like to take a moment or three to discuss some extra tweaks and changes you should add to this desktop environment to make it palatable. Read more

When to Use Which Debian Linux Repository

Nothing distinguishes the Debian Linux distribution so much as its system of package repositories. Originally organized into Stable, Testing, and Unstable, additional repositories have been added over the years, until today it takes more than a knowledge of a repository's name to understand how to use it efficiently and safely. Debian repositories are installed with a section called main that consists only of free software. However, by editing the file /etc/apt/sources.list, you can add contrib, which contains software that depends on proprietary software, and non-free, which contains proprietary software. Unless you choose to use only free software, contrib and non-free are especially useful for video and wireless drivers. You should also know that the three main repositories are named for characters from the Toy Story movies. Unstable is always called Sid, while the names of Testing and Stable change. When a new version of Debian is released, Testing becomes Stable, and the new version of Testing receives a name. These names are sometimes necessary for enabling a mirror site, but otherwise, ignoring these names gives you one less thing to remember. Read more

Today in Techrights