Great Email Footers

I’ve mentioned them before here – those sometimes long, sometimes silly footers that are appended to emails to, generally, make a company’s legal folks think they actually have some control and can provide some protection to items sent out into the æther. This is a throwback to the days of mail, delivered by the Post Office and where in many countries, the mail was protected by law.

So, the result today of companies and other organisations trying to reproduce the perceived level of protection they had before is the email footer. Some carry dire threats of the retribution of the law, others are longer than a contract to appear in a Hollywood movie and still others are just plain silly. Take for example, the latest one to cause me a degree of mirth:

IMPORTANT: This email remains the property of the Australian Defence Organisation and is subject to the jurisdiction of section 70 of the Crimes Act 1914. If you have received this email in error, you are requested to contact the sender and delete the email.

Yes folks, the Australian Defence Organisation (ADO) wants to retain ownership of something floating in the æther. What the ADO has said here is that the email (the message transport mechanism) is still owned by the ADO, not the words. This is the same as saying of a snail mail that the sender retains ownership of the paper the message is written on.

The ADO should have tried stating that “the contents of the email remains the property of …”. Of course, it doesn’t protect the ADO from the whole world knowing the contents of an email that is sent to the wrong place but I guess it would make them feel that they were protected that way.

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