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Careless email is like giving a child a gun

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The careless use of email can be so dangerous it's like giving a child an Uzi sub machine gun in some misguided hope that it won't run amok and cause widespread carnage. This graphic analogy is being used by Content Technologies Ltd which reckons that almost two thirds of office workers have risked their personal and business credibility with email errors in the workplace. But The Register contacted a firearms expert, who scoffed at this suggestion. "Have you seen the damage an Uzi 9mm SMG can do to flesh and bone? I have and it's not a pretty sight," he said. "To say that firing off a few emails to the wrong place and watching a small child wrestle with a short barrelled Uzi as the bullets rip through internal organs showering soft tissue up against a wall is just too much. "When I was in Nam..." And so on. In the survey, Content Technologies -- which developed the Internet content security product MIMEsweeper -- found that 61 per cent of people have sent an email to the wrong person. It also found that almost three quarters of people would automatically send confidential information to a company director without first checking that the email was genuine. "Most people don't mind if they are sent the wrong email, but, if it comes from a business address, it can have serious consequences in terms of corporate credibility and integrity," said Chris Heslop, marketing manager at Content Technologies. He cited one example where an employee sent an email by mistake to a customer containing a personal insult. Not only was she sacked but her former employer also lost a valuable contract. Nearly the same as a child running amok with an Uzi, but somehow not quite. ®

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