Find the lawyers something useful to do..

The following boilerplate text gets appended against my will to all of my e-mails from my work account. It’s their servers, and I work for them, and any work-related e-mail I send is a priori their business. But…. as part of my job, I send a lot of e-mail that goes to public mailing lists, and the boilerplate gets replicated over and over again in mailing list archives.

I wonder if the lawyers that come up with this stuff can name one time where someone sued and won at trial because of an E-mail sent from a company address. I admit when it comes to the law, anything’s possible, but this looks like a solution looking for a problem.

Not only that, if you read this specific statement, it appears that they’re trying to avoid getting sued over violation of patient privacy. It is a ‘piggies already out of the barn’ thing; basically it asks anyone who gets an e-mail they shouldn’t have gotten not to propagate it. But once such an e-mail has been sent, the infraction has happened, and the recipient is not the infractor, the sender is. The ‘paragraph 2521’ prohibits interception of messages, whereas this statement seems to say ‘if you get this and you’re not supposed to, you’re breaking the law if you don’t just delete it.’ I’m not sure 2521 is even applicable.

Furthermore the University of Iowa is not making ANY distinction between people involved in patient care, and people, like me, who have nothing to do with patients or their privacy. It’s no surprise that I get this blah blah attached to my e-mails, considering the hundreds of e-mails I get as part of hospital-wide broadcasts that have nothing to do with me or my job.

Notice: This UI Health Care e-mail (including attachments) is covered by the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, 18 U.S.C. 2510-2521, is confidential and may be legally privileged. If you are not the intended recipient, you are hereby notified that any retention, dissemination, distribution, or copying of this communication is strictly prohibited. Please reply to the sender that you have received the message in error, then delete it. Thank you.

One reply on “Find the lawyers something useful to do..”

The University has created a nice little cottage industry making boilerplate statements in convoluted legalese. I’ve done a few freelance gigs for UofI sponsored stuff and you always have to incorporate a paragraph long disclaimer into the design. But they never batted an eye when I over quoted them.

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