Friday, December 17, 2004

Return to haunt sender

This week saw an old email emerge as the final straw that broke the proverbial camel's back for UK Home Secretary, David Blunkett, revealing his curious phrase "No favours, but slightly quicker" in the nanny-visa-gate affair.

For all the talk of the anonymity of the Internet, the reality is that with the ability to record each website visited, file downloaded, comment published, email sent and to search 8 billion webpages on Google (and the rest), the potential for your Internet history to return to haunt you is all too real.

This blog featured the sorry tale of former air hostess Queen of the Sky who was reportedly brought back to earth for featuring inappropriate pictures of herself in her employers' uniform on her blog.

Blogging and email have empowered people to transmit their thoughts in seconds, but this carries with it all the dangers in terms of lack of reflection and hot-headedness. Add to that the potential for cultural misunderstandings inherent in a global audience and you'll wish you'd taken daddy's advice and signed up to law school after all.

No wonder then that so many companies' email signatures feature the obligatory 'don't blame us' legal warning - a particularly well written one I received this week featured the immortal line: "These are the views of the sender unless you like them a lot - then they are the Company's!"

Perhaps I should add a postscript: This blog contains the views of my virtual alter ego, unless you like them a lot - then they are mine!

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