[lug] off topic email question

Paul E Condon pecondon at mesanetworks.net
Wed Feb 27 22:16:26 MST 2008

On Wed, Feb 27, 2008 at 08:57:07PM -0700, Jeff Schroeder wrote:
> Karl:
> > > Second, if I'm storing messages beyond the usual
> > > deliver-and-download process, I incur a liability to
> > > protect and manage that data.
> >
> > Would you be able to say more about how this works
> > from a legal standpoint?  Is what you state true the
> > minute you as an ISP start storing email outside of
> > pop/imap delivery, meaning it's implicit liability?
> > Or does a written contract have to explicitly state
> > that you are liable?
> IANAL so I don't know whether there's an implicit liability under the 
> law; I was referring more to a social liability, as in "if I'm storing 
> your private data, I'd better darn well be careful with it."
> Of course, I'm storing it anyway-- albeit momentarily-- between the time 
> it's written to disk by the MTA and the time the user downloads and 
> deletes it.  I suppose there's some liability there too (social and 
> perhaps legal) but part of the burden is on the customer to use a 
> reasonable password to protect their own mail.
> All in all I think there are a lot of interesting issues surrounding 
> e-mail management and storage.  The White House fiasco is certainly 
> bringing some of them into the limelight, and it'll be fun to see how 
> it plays out.
> Jeff

I remember reading some text lifted from Presidential Orders that implement
the law on Federal govt record keeping. They cover email in some detail.
It appeared to me at the time that they covered a lot of interesting issues.
(Your bloated federal bureaucracy at work.) Government officials often seem
to be caught by surprise by events, but in this case they had already done
some fairly deep thinking ahead of time. That their work was ignored by 
the President is regrettable. 

Paul E Condon 
pecondon at mesanetworks.net

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