There was an excellent article in the February - March 1999
edition of Executive
Edge (a magazine published by Forbes).
I asked them for permission to put a copy of the article on
my site, but I was told that my company was too small. I was
hurt and wasn't going to mention anything about the article,
but it is too good to ignore.
The Microsoft anti-trust case is a good example of how email
can come back to haunt you. There has been email after email
that has been brought forth as evidence showing how much the
people at Microsoft wanted to crush Netscape. These were all
internal email messages, but you also have to worry about
What are you and other employees of your company doing with
email? Do you only use your account for work related email,
or do you accept personal email as well? Do you subscribe
to newsletters? Do you apply for jobs using your current employers
computers? Even if you didn't realize it, your company almost
certainly has some sort of policy regulating your use of company
email. If it doesn't have one, then it should.
This is about all I can say without getting in trouble. Visit
and read the article. It is excellent. It is entitled E-Trail:
How to avoid having your company's e-mail come back to haunt
you by Edward H. Baker. It has a sample email policy
that a company could use, it gives some statistics from some
companies (one company said 80% of their email is for non-company
use). It is worth the time to read it.
If you want to avoid any problems, the best thing to do is
to get a web-based email account from one of the many "portals"
that offer it. A friend of mine works for a company who was
cracking down on company email use (some people actually got
fired) so he set up a HotMail
account so he could still use email then at work.