Volume 91 - No. 1 Minnesota Law Review

Note, “Don’t Read This If It’s Not For You”: The Legal Inadequacies of Modern Approaches to E-mail Privacy

E-mail has become the cheap and reliable replacement for many forms of business and personal communication. Despite a lack of any significant advances in privacy laws or software, lawyers have surrendered their once vocal privacy concerns in favor of efficient communication. In an effort to minimize any remaining privacy concerns, e-mail privacy disclaimers have become as common as junk mail. Having no foundation in statutory or case law, however, e-mail privacy disclaimers have become nothing more than a self-perpetuating legal phenomenon. This Note analyzes the possible motivations for the continued use of e-mail privacy disclaimers and concludes that such disclaimers are wholly unenforceable.

In order to address continuing e-mail privacy concerns, this Note identifies several best practices for maximizing the effectiveness of e-mail disclaimers from a pragmatic standpoint. Such methods include manually placing disclaimers at the beginning of e-mail messages. In addition, the Note presents e-mail encryption as an effective and enforceable replacement for e-mail privacy disclaimers. Not only does encryption reasonably guarantee the confidentiality of an e-mail message, but it also provides the sender with valuable information about delivery.

:: View PDF

De Novo

  • Dan’s Flaw

    DAN’S [F]LAW: STATUTORY FAILURE TO ENFORCE ETHICAL BEHAVIOR IN CLINICAL DRUG TRIALS Noah Lewellen* I. INTRODUCTION Paul, a sophomore at the University of Minnesota, bursts into a lecture hall, loudly claims to see monsters sitting in the seats, and offers his services in slaying them. The police are called, and Paul is restrained and delivered […]

  • Case Comment: Bhogaita v. Altamonte

    EVERY DOG CAN HAVE HIS DAY IN COURT: THE USE OF ANIMALS AS DEMONSTRATIVE EXHIBITS Kyle R. Kroll, Volume 100, Online Managing Editor In Bhogaita v. Altamonte, the Eleventh Circuit recently decided whether to allow a dog in the courtroom as a demonstrative exhibit.[1] Although the case presented many serious issues regarding the Fair Housing […]

  • Revisiting Water Bankruptcy

    REVISITING WATER BANKRUPTCY IN CALIFORNIA’S FOURTH YEAR OF DROUGHT Olivia Moe, Volume 100, Managing Editor This spring, as “extreme” to “exceptional” drought stretched across most of California—indicating that a four-year streak of drought was not about to resolve itself[1]—Governor Jerry Brown issued an unprecedented order to reduce potable urban water usage by twenty-five percent.[2] In […]