Thu, Sep. 14, 2006

EMail Published, Protected Like Letter

CK - Washington.A Cologne court called the publication of an EMail a violation of personality or privacy rights of the sender. The matter 28 O 178/06, decided on September 9, 2006, involves an EMail from a corporation that the recipient apparently forwarded to a party which published it on the Internet. The court refers to the EMail as an exhibit, without elaborating on it in the decision. Therefore, the exact route of the EMail to the publisher is unclear.

A discussion at the Berlin Blawg turns on whether the decision is a tragic mistake because the court addresses the privacy issue but fails to address the option of a sender to encrypt EMail. The discussion centers on the ability to publish unencrypted EMail because it is not protected like a postal letter. Rather, unencrypted EMail is like a postcard. The discussion does not yet address the expectation of privacy on the part of the sender.

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