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'Self Destructing' E-Mail Could Create Legal Headache For Businesses

by Glen Shapiro, LawAndTax-News.com, New York

23 October 2003


Observers have suggested that a tool contained within the newest version of Outlook Express, which allows a sender to set an e-mail to 'self destruct' after a given period, could create a legal headache for companies which are obliged to keep records of correspondence.

Outlook 2003, which is contained within the latest version of the Microsoft Office suite launched on Tuesday, includes this function as part of its Information Rights Management System.

Although many have heralded the new tool as having the potential to prevent trade secrets, incriminating statements, and confidential exchanges from being leaked to the media, critics have suggested that it is not necessarily the cure-all that it appears to be, as the e-mail messages will still be stored on the sender's computer.

Some have also argued that it may create regulatory, administrative, and eventually legal problems for some businesses, as they are likely to be prevented from saving or printing much of their correspondence.


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