By Bob Schwartz
Let us not judge DA Chuck Rosenthal unfairly. It is not the items on his computer that he RECEIVED. It should be by what he SENT. Anyone can send him an e-mail and he has NO CONTROL over what someone sends him. Almost everyone has been the recipient of SPAM, some of which gets through even the best spam filters, and some of which is vile beyond belief.
However, Rosenthal CAN and SHOULD be judged by what he CREATED and SENT, by what he may have FORWARDED, or what he may have downloaded and collected. These are the actions by which he should be judged. Just as each of us should be judged on what we SEND or FORWARD.
E-mail is a very valuable method of almost instant communication. However, many people operate under an illusion that it is private. It is not. Once sent, it is effectively broadcast to the world. So one should NEVER send anything that they might regret. Once it is sent, it is now in other people’s hands. The recipient may or may not care as much about controlling your e-mails distribution as you do.
Just suppose you send something clever about someone you know to a friend or acquaintance and they bring it up on the screen. Then, they take a break and go to coffee, leaving it on the screen. Another person passes by, snoops, and sees the e-mail. They also think it is clever, and make a copy of it and send it to someone they know, etc.
Or, the employer records all e-mail traffic passing within their company, which they have every right to do, since the equipment is theirs.
Worse yet, some people send messages that they believe are benign and strictly business, yet some self-anointed “god” thinks otherwise.
Yet even sneakier are viruses that can unknowingly, by you, forward your e-mails elsewhere; or, police and other snoops tapping your connection. There are innumerable ways by which your “private” traffic can go public.
So, the BOTTOM LINE is: compose your messages with care, check the addressees listed, and review the message before pressing the “SEND” key.
Oh, by the way: do not think that once sent and “deleted”, that the file is gone from your computer. When you “delete” a file, this DOES NOT ERASE THE FILE. All this does is change the first letter of the file name in the directory. The file, in all its glory, remains untouched on the hard drive, which is why it is so easy to recover it. Technology has provided a variety of means to recover and reconstitute “deleted” files.
To conclude, e-mail is a tremendously valuable means of almost instant communication. Just make sure that you use it carefully, thoughtfully and wisely.
Bob Schwartz is a HAL-PC member, retired EE, 14 patents, technical writer, active in civic affairs: President, Brays Bayou Association; Vice President, Marilyn Estates Civic Association; Correspondence Secretary with the Willow Waterhole Greenspace Conservancy. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.