Calculate the numerous emails you have sent within the last week, month, and year. You are likely to send a significant number of emails. It would be 3,650 emails in one year if you sent ten emails per day on average. If you kept this pace, you would have more than 18,000 emails within five years. Can you recall all the links, attachments, and information included in every one of those emails? Is it possible to remember who CCed and BCCed were in each email message?
It is impossible to keep track of all the messages you send in your personal and professional life. You can send a recipient a message by copying, securing it, or reading it aloud over the dinner table.
Intentional Email Habits
I am not trying to fear you for giving up your email accounts. Instead, I encourage you to use carrier pigeons and telegrams. I want you to consider how your email works and where sensitive information could be exposed. Email is an integral segment of modern life. It is easy to overlook the privacy and security issues that email presents.
I recently wrote about a similar vulnerability in texting. This applies to sending SMS/MMS messages through your cell provider or using an encrypted app. I urge you to use the same rules when emailing.
1. There is no like thing as perfect security.
Email providers now have a standard practice of encrypting in-transit email and storing your information in secure centers. However, some companies offer better security measures than others. However, email accounts and WiFi networks can be hacked, and it is impossible to ensure your email security.
2. Privacy and security are not the same things.
Privacy and security are both related but not the same. Email security is how your account data are protected from unauthorized access. Email Privacy refers to how your personal information is collected, stored, transmitted, and shared.
Google, for example, touts the security of Gmail’s encryption and data center but has been subject to criticism for its privacy policies. Google had used email content to personalize ads until 2017. The company has since stopped sharing this information. Still, it scans emails to provide “smart features,” such as autocomplete suggestions or adding details about hotel or flight reservations directly to your calendar.
3. You can still take steps to safe side yourself.
An email will always pose security and privacy concerns, as with any digital communication. You can take steps to protect your information.
* Compare multiple providers.
It is worth your time to carefully review all the email providers’ privacy policies and security procedures. Even though you may have been using it for years, you might not know how your data are protected or how it’s used. Pay attention and be aware of policies that cause you discomfort. ProtonMail is one example of a privacy-focused provider, as are Posteo and Fastmail.
* Please don’t email sensitive information.
Do not send personally identifiable information (PII) without exercising good judgment. PII could include Social Security numbers, driver’s license numbers, or credit card numbers. Medical records, photographs of passports and ID cards, Global Entry numbers, or TSA Precheck numbers are all examples. Organizations that handle PII, such as banks, hospitals, or government agencies, will request you to complete a secure form.
* Take a second to think concerning what you write (and attach).
Remember that emails can get lost or stolen. Your emails may have more sensitive information because they contain longer content than text messages. Careful about what attachments and messages you send. Worst case scenario: What would you think if they were published in the news?
Email has revolutionized the way we communicate. But it also has its limitations. It is prominent to understand who you are sharing your information with and how it is being used. You need to develop email habits that protect your personal data as much as possible.