{sigh!} Why I don't like to give family members ...


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DatahopaForumGeneral CategoryGeneral Discussion{sigh!} Why I don't like to give family members my email address



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{sigh!} Why I don't like to give family members my email address

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Offline DaveMorton Topic starter
United States WWW Global Moderator
Posts: 2807
Rank: Certified
Comfort the Disturbed! Disturb the Comfortable!

WARNING! This is a rant!

First off, I want to state that I love my family. In general they're great folk. But sometimes I want to take away their computers and replace them with a box of crayons and some recycled newsprint.  headbang

Yesterday, I got an email from a sibling; it was one of those sendings that one usually just tosses in the round file without even really reading them. You know the kind; with cutsie sayings, or "funny" pictures, with "pass this along to all your friends", or "this is REALLY important, so make sure that everyone you know gets it". I think this one mentioned President Obama in it, but honestly the content didn't really matter. What DID matter was that said sibling sent that email to FIFTY people, with each and every email address placed in the "TO:" line!  Shocked sign-oops sign-sad

This happens to me from time to time, and each time before, I would just delete the offending email and give a discreet word to the sender about why this behaviour is a bad thing. This time, however, something inside me snapped, and I decided to take action of a different sort.

What I did was to compose an email to myself, and I included every one of those addresses that I could see in the BCC line, so that everyone who got the same email that I had gotten would also get my missive, hopefully educating at least one person in the process. Below is the content of that email:



Many of you know me. Most of you don't. That's fine. For the sake of what I'm trying to accomplish, it doesn't matter whether you do or not. I don't send emails of the type you just received earlier today because I feel that it's a perversion of what email was originally intended for. That doesn't really matter, either. What matters is this: You received this email because your email address was visible to me in the email that I received from someone else on this list, and I'm trying to educate everyone I can as to why this is a bad thing. So please pay attention here.

Let's pretend that I'm not the nice person that I actually am. Let's, just for a moment, say that I don't treat everyone with respect, dignity and compassion. Let's imagine, instead, that I'm the sort of person who doesn't care about others. Since I no longer have any concern for you, and since I know of a great way to make money on the internet, I've just sold all of your email addresses to a company who sends out those "male enhancement", home mortgage, or Canadian pharmacy emails we all hate. There were fifty email addresses in the "To" line of that email you all got earlier, which makes your address visible to everyone else who received it. That's bad enough, but let's say I didn't get that email, but one that was forwarded to me at a later time. Emails zip around the world, and spread faster than any deadly contagious illness ever made, and each time an email is forwarded, any new entries in the "To" or "Carbon Copy" (CC) line are included, as well, and I've seen emails with SEVERAL HUNDRED email addresses visible. If only one person out of the fifty people who got that earlier email forwarded it to ten friends, and one of those ten did the same, imagine how many times your email address will be seen by people you don't even know. This is worse than someone writing your phone number on the bathroom stall at a truck stop, people. Because someone like me (or, actually the PRETEND me) now has a substantial list of email addresses that can be sold, and within hours you ALL have even more of those spam emails for pills, loans, or whatever else they can get you to look at in the hopes that you'll buy something.

Worse yet, let's say that I'm even more evil than I've yet described. Let's say I'm a bored 14 year old, who has learned to write programs, but not right from wrong. Now I have a list of email address that I can use to send out a very nasty virus to your computer (statistically, two of you don't have any antivirus protection at all, and another 8 of you have outdated, usesless antivirus programs). Now, your banking information, personal data, and whatever else you use your computer for, even temporarily, is in my hands. Can we say "Identity theft"?

Don't think for a second that this threat isn't real. Large companies aren't the only victims of hacking. All you have to do is a little research on Google to know that what I'm saying here is true. The threat I've described is VERY real, but it's also one that can be avoided.

Ok, enough harping. Let's get back to the REAL me now (though it may not seem so, I don't LIKE being evil), and talk about how to avoid all of this. The "easy" answer is to just stop forwarding all this stuff, and use email as it was originally intended: an extention of the postal mail system. I know, however, that that's not gonna happen. People are addicted to email, and it's not my place to judge anyway. No, there's a better way to avoid all this nastiness, without quitting emailing. It's called "BLIND CARBON COPY"

Blind Carbon Copy (or BCC, for short) is a means to send your emails out to multiple people without everyone seeing who else got the message that's being sent. This handy feature protects the privacy (and more) of the people you send emails to, and should (in my opinion) be the only way to send emails to more than one individual. It's simple to use, and doesn't require any special skills. Nearly every email service provider has a BCC line for adding multiple email addresses. If your email service provider (gmail, hotmail, Outlook Express, etc.) does NOT provide it, then you need to contact them and ask about BCC. You can generally locate the BCC line just below where you normally place emaill addresses. The arrangement should look something like this:

To: _____________
CC:_____________
BCC: ____________ <-- -- This is what you're looking for
Subject: __________

There is absolutelt no excuse for placing more than one email address in the TO line (preferably, your own, and I'll explain why shortly), or ANY addresses AT ALL in the CC (Carbon Copy) line.

When you send out emails to more than one person, ALWAYS send it to yourself, and add all of the other email addresses in the BCC line. That way, the only email address that you show to everyone else (and thus, after 100 times of being forwarded, another several hundred people that you don't even know) is your own address. This action shows that you care enough about people that you don't want to risk their privacy by hiding their information from others who may not wish them well.

If you're still with me, thank you for reading this. I hope that it serves to make you safer. Feel free to send me an email with your thoughts about this note, even if you don't know who the heck I am. That is, after all, what email was originally intended for.

Dave Morton
Geek Cave Creations
http://www.geekcavecreations.com/
dave(dash)morton(at)techie(dot)com

This Email certified Anthrax-free by the CDC



I'm considering sending the bill from The Hair Club for Men to my sibling.
Posted June 24, 2011, 13:45:24 PM
Last Edit: June 24, 2011, 18:28:12 PM by DaveMorton
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Offline Diesel
England Posts: 1052
Rank: Certified

That's a Rant and a Half that one.

What I've done Dave, is have more that one E-mail address. One primary the other given to lesser trusted. Hopefully all the spam and rubbish goes to the latter and can be checked and, if required sent to my primary.

Ye' bit of a faff I know, but it does save on the frustration. Cheesy
Posted June 24, 2011, 16:41:23 PM Logged
It WILL be fine !...

Online Data
United Kingdom Administrator
Posts: 5198
Rank: Certified

I too don’t like it when my e-mail is passed on without my permission, it does annoy me.

But Dave what is confusing me is that you have now put your e-mail in this thread, I do all I can to stop spam bots joining and trawling the site but some get through, they will find that e-mail of yours.
Posted June 24, 2011, 17:28:26 PM Logged

Offline Snowcrash
England Global Moderator
Posts: 2790
Rank: Certified

Good one Dave. Education is the way forward.

I bet at least half the people will say to themselves 'that's what BCC means'
I think you now have the record of most verbose posting rant on this site.  thumbsup
Posted June 24, 2011, 17:48:22 PM Logged
“I cannot remember the books I've read any more than the meals I have eaten; even so, they have made me.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Offline DaveMorton Topic starter
United States WWW Global Moderator
Posts: 2807
Rank: Certified
Comfort the Disturbed! Disturb the Comfortable!

I was still worked up about the whole thing when I posted, so forgot to alter the email addy. Oops?

Fortunately, that's one of my "junk" emails, so spam there is more or less expected. My "business" email address goes to nobody except people that I work with, and have the wit not to pass it out to others. Smiley

My favorite "junk" account, which I generally use for registering with "less than reputable" websites, is junkmailaccount@email.com - and yes, that's a valid email. I skim through the junk about once a week, just in case there's actually something in there worth keeping. Never is, mind, but I still check. Smiley
Posted June 24, 2011, 18:30:33 PM Logged
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Online Data
United Kingdom Administrator
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LOL, I like the junk e-mail accounts name. If anyone with half a brain actually reads what it is, they probably wouldn’t bother sending an e-mail to it anyway, so it kind of works in two ways. 
Posted June 24, 2011, 23:27:38 PM Logged

Offline DaveMorton Topic starter
United States WWW Global Moderator
Posts: 2807
Rank: Certified
Comfort the Disturbed! Disturb the Comfortable!

That's the biggest reason why I grabbed that one, and was seriously surprised that it was available.
Posted June 25, 2011, 03:23:20 AM Logged
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