No, I don’t refer to joining mailing lists where the email message is customized to reflect the recipient’s identity or the email message is addressed to an aliased egroup.
I refer to being in a mailing list of someone, supposedly a friend, who appears to get a kick out of showing that s/he knows many people by the number of email addresses in the To: or Cc: field.
By entering bulk email addresses in the To: or Cc: field, the recipients online security is compromised. Knowing that email messages are not secure and could easily be intercepted while in transit, these are the type of emails that delight spammers. (Not to mention that malicious programs could be embedded onto emails that could easily grab email addresses while in the Inbox and siphoned to the programmers database.)
And what makes this worst is the practice of forwarding email messages to others without even scrubbing the email addresses shown in the previous message. I think you’ve seen this type of forwarded messages. Jokes. Chain letters. “Feel good” emails. Even hoaxes of supposed virus outbreak, etc.
This practice should be banned. It is senseless. Inconsiderate. It does not only feed to spammers the recipients email addresses, but the practice in fact is a breach of privacy.
How many times have we seen the names of people and their addresses in forwarded messages that we do not even know? Come to think of it. Did those people give their consent to have their email addresses be made known to others they do not even know?
Next time you think of emailing friends, please think of their online security and privacy.
Be a true friend. Do not feed your friends to spammers!
Note: This article was originally posted on March 19, 2008.
Between that original posting date and to date, we have received quite a number of emails, mostly forwarded emails, which display email addresses of persons that we do not even know.
Privately, we asked our “delinquent” friends if they were aware of the risk of their email practices, and their answer was “No”. We were truly amazed, and disappointed, that despite the wealth of information about online best practices, many of us tend to ignore the call for caution and prudence. Or, was that just due to laziness?
Next time, you email something to friends avoid displaying those multiple addresses. If you have to send your message to multiple addresses, use the Bcc: field.