People know what they do; they frequently know why they do what they do; but what they don't know is what what they do does.

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People know what they do; they frequently know why they do what they do; but what they don't know is what what they do does.

Introduction

With technology moving at such a rapid pace, etiquette and ethics have a hard time keeping up. Five years ago few people had even heard of electronic mail or "e-mail" and even today, whether to add a hyphen or not it is of trivial debate.
As a society, we hold dear the value of privacy and confidentiality as a basic fundamental right. Access to the new technology of electronic mail can jeopardize both values.

What privacy rights should employees enjoy, and how can these be reconciled with the legitimate need of organzations to control and manage their network?

People have come to depend on
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1The Colonists realized, before the revolutionary war, that there was a need to somehow police the system to make sure that the mail is delivered to the person in which it was intended and that it did not fall into the hands of someone else, namely the British.

To date, there are more than eighty federal crimes called "postal offenses." In fact, there is a special division of U.S. Postal investigators that have full powers of arrest . . . and we are the only country in the world that has such regulating powers attached to our mail delivery system. Most Americans know that tampering with mail not addressed to them is a "federal offense."2

So, if we have such protection for our written paper correspondence, would not the same kind of protection apply to missives sent electronically?

For a working defintion of electronic mail (e-mail), let us use: "any technology enabling the non-interactive exchange of electronic messages between e-mail users."3 (see glossary for other terms)

Ben Franklin would be proud of the expediency of information transferred today, but unlike during his time, the system of electronic mail does not yet have clearly defined laws or mores to guide our society in the judicial use of this new technological mail system.

How did electronic mail begin?

Before the 1980's, e-mail was rarely even heard of. The Postal System developed a system called E-Com in the early 1970's. They had

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