Email Confidentiality Notices

Many emails coming to me have default confidentiality or commercial-in-confidence signatures. I think privacy aware individuals or organisations see them and adopt them without thinking through the issues.

Firstly if I haven’t specifically solicited a confidential email why should it be binding on me. Here is an interesting point from the abuse.net database:

IF YOUR MESSAGE CONTAINED A NON-DISCLOSURE OR CONFIDENTIALITY NOTICE: We do not solicit or accept confidential information for the contact database since the contents of the database are available to the public. Confidentiality notices are legally meaningless in the United States, where abuse.net is located, so such notices are ignored. If you accidentally sent something that you do consider confidential, tell us nicely and we’ll consider deleting it.

So think twice about blindly grabbing someone’s signature file and using it in your organisation.

That also applies to Privacy Policies and Terms of Trade. The number of businesses I’ve seen that have obviously borrowed their terms of trade from another supplier without thinking it through. Terms of Trade has implications for accounts receivable, collections and insolvency. At least get an advisor’s opinion.