May It Please the Court® A Weblog of Legal News & Observations
Quote of the Day - It solved a real world problem: The killer idea was to make email available on the web. - Sabeer Bhatia

Computer Survey: 'Nothing Personal' Shows How Much Employees Misunderstand Email

Yes, email has been with us for 25 years now, and we are sending some 143 billion (yes, that's with a "B."  I know you're still trying to get over the 25 years part) emails every day.  

The divide between personal emails and business emails is obvious to some, but for many, there's little or no dividing line.  Representative Mark Foley, among others, discovered just how personal business emails can be.  Or is it the other way around?

We Comply, an online compliance service (with which MIPTC has no financial interest, but would not decline it offered), just published a survey of business computer usage entitled, "Nothing Personal:  Survey of Computer Use At Work." 

Here are some of its findings:

  1. More than half of all workers do not know that personal email, instant messages and unsent files created on work computers may become business records;
  2. Over forty percent of those surveyed did not realize that personal web searches on their work computers could become business records;
  3. Two-thirds of all workers did not understand that personal IMs to friends could become business records; and,
  4. Younger workers (18-34) tended to be less aware than older ones.  More than half of the younger group (fifty-five percent) did not understand that sending an email to a friend created a business record, compared with thirty-nine percent of those over 55.

The survey's executive summary offers this rather startling rationale for the "apparent disconnect:"  workers think that logging on to so-called private email services such as Hotmail, Yahoo, AOL and the like somehow insulate them from "work." 

Here's perhaps another way to look at it:  if you're at work using a work computer, your emails are not private, something that's not lost on the older generation, according to the survey.  And you thought younger workers understood computers better. 

Posted by J. Craig Williams on Tuesday, January 02, 2007

MIPTC Home | View Weblog Archive

Back to top.