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McCarthy email solution ‘brilliant’

According to his mum at least

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Kieren McCarthy's suggestion that companies provide staff with two email accounts - one for corporate use and one for private - provoked a mixed response. Several readers praised Kieren's brilliant insight, Gerry included:

I think your idea of two e-mail accounts (one corporate, one private) is absolutely brilliant. So simple - why did no-one think of it before?

At a stroke it overcomes all the privacy issues and is fair to everyone, employers and employees. It also helps to get many more people on-line, and that can only be A Good Thing.

What you need now is to invent a catchy name for this idea so that it becomes widely known and debated. It would then be much harder for companies to sack people for dodgy e-mail if they hadn't provided a separate
private mailbox. After all, if you haven't provided a payphone you can hardly fire someone for phoning, say, the hospital, from their desk telephone? That seems the obvious comparison to make.

Then there was Hanna Brown:

I think your suggestion for the monitoring of e-mail in the workplace is a brilliant one. It seems so simple, and that's the beauty of it. But of course because it is simple it won't be accepted. Things have to be "complicated" in order for them to be accepted as plausible.

All of this fawning adoration caused some suspicion here at Vulture Central, what with it coming at salary negotiation time. As I write, Reg boffins are tracking down the alleged correspondents. The smart money is on the theory that they are both written by his mum. Bless.

Other (clearly genuine) contributions, considered the proposal unworkable. Russ Davies outlined some objections:

I feel your proposal is totally unworkable I'm afraid. - The kind of administration and set up of that setup (extra email software, more expertise needed, perhaps different hardware, added administration overheads) are prohibitive to all but very large companies.

A far better solution would be ammend the RFC for email to include an extra header - a BOOLean header indicating whether the communication is intended to be for officical or personal use. It could be gradually introduced with new versions of email clients, and as fa as I'm aware all current SMTP services would support it?

I haven't thought this through properly, and perhaps there would be sufficient call for more than 2 'states' of email requiring a number instead of a boolean value. All mails sent marked 'personal' could not be opened by businesses or law enforcement agencies without suspicion of illegal activity. All 'business'mails on the other hand could be strictly vetted for content and suitability.

Incidentally, I am a big proponent of privacy for the individual, and believe the RIP key escrow and other schemes are very very wrong. However I do *not* believe a person has the right to use email for personal reasons at work - and I'm not a company director or owner or manager, just a lowly techie.

You are paid to work for the company during those hours not to write personal emails. It's the same as personal phone calls, some companies tolerate them, others dont (rightly so) - at the end of the day it not only wastes company time but also costs money, especially for those companies who pay per bandwidth.

On the privacy issue, I do not believe you are entitled to 'privacy' at work. There is a huge difference between PRIVACY and SECRECY - at work you are accountable to your employers, if you don't like it - leave and fnid alternative employment. If there are no jobs available that offer you complete privacy then this is an act of market forces, one of the consequences of living in a free society.

Charles E. Hardwidge, however, disagrees with Mr Davies about privacy at work. He is in complete agreement with Kieren's mum about his genius though:

Two servers, one for personal, one for corporate email. Brilliant. Having two accounts is a mechanism I thought of some time ago. Nice to see someone else come with AND promote in such a public forum.

The recent email sackings have been a sign of panicky management, who to be blunt, don't know what they're talking about or doing.

Monitoring all email is not the way to go. Could you get by without a nervous breakdown if a hidden microphone followed you around everywhere? No. People need privacy, even in work. Not one single person on this planet goes through life without making a mistake or saying or doing something they shouldn't. We need a place to recover from that, it's called our private self.

If companies want this sort of scrutiny, why can't Unions monitor company Directors email, or better still, place a microphone in the board room. Ah. But, we can't have that can we, that's *different*. I don't think so.

It's nice to see you highlight this issue again. I've nearly given up on the blind, unthinking, mass media who seem to have had a brain bypass. The hysterical stupidity with which they treat this issue is laughable, and is almost as bad as the coverage they give to email viruses.

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