Hushmail – Email Privacy and the Government

By November 19, 2007Internet Lawyer

If you think that your Hushmail emails are secure, think again. Despite the PGP encryption, Hushmail, a Canadian company, is apparently cooperating with U.S. law enforcement authorities who want to look at emails.

This raises many interesting legal issues but reinforces the fact that you should never put in email anything that you don’t want third parties to read. Assume the worst will happen. “Three can keep a secret if two of them are dead,” quipped Benjamin Franklin. Consider this when writing your next e-mail. Even if the recipient doesn’t share what you wrote with someone else (and chances are that he will), your Internet Service Provider (ISP) or email provider may be gutting your privacy rights behind your back by giving copies to the government or even someone interested in suing you.

What’s the lesson for your online business?

If you make representations about your products or services, you better stand by those representations. And if your website’s privacy policy states X is true, you should make sure that it is in fact true.

As for Hushmail, it will be interesting to see if the company gets sued.

Hat tip to Iaian Thomson at ITNews for this email privacy story.

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Author Mike Young, Esq.

Mike Young has been practicing business and technology law since 1994 and is an angel investor in startups. He's been an entrepreneur since 1988. To get legal help from Attorney Young, click here now or call 214-546-4247 to schedule a phone consultation.

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