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Why You Shouldn't Use Private Email for Work -- Especially Government Work

By William Vogeler, Esq. on December 14, 2018 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

If Hillary Clinton's email problem wasn't enough, Ivanka Trump's should be enough to remind us all not to use our private email at work.

Of course, their problem was using private email for government work, which is way worse. We'll talk about that in a minute.

But let's start with the fundamentals: so-called private email isn't private at all. It's not the hackers you have to worry about; it's your employers.

No Right to Privacy

It should be no surprise that employers have a right to monitor your email at work. But it gets worse.

Email goes everywhere: on the sender's computer; the employer's network; the internet service provider; and the receiver's computer. Rinse and repeat with every reply, forwarded, and saved email.

Stored email -- which includes deleted email -- is the worst because it's easy to recover. And one subpoena can cover a multitude of sins. Here are a few:

  • Using private email on your employer's system, which can get you fired;
  • Sending company documents to your account, which can get you fired and sued; and
  • Emailing confidential documents to your account, which can get you fired, sued, and jailed

Now let's talk about government email. Remember, you don't have to be the president's daughter to get a government job.

Government Jobs

Ivanka blew it when she sent hundreds of emails for work using her personal account. Of course, she blew it off as nothing like Hillary's email fail.

It's fair to say Ivanka is not on the same level as Hillary in many ways, but that's another story. Here's the point they both missed: email is inherently not secure, and you compromise government business by using personal email accounts.

Hopefully, it's a lesson learned and won't have to be repeated in 2020. If history teaches us nothing, however, Facebook will.

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