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  • After Patraeus: How Save Is Your Email?
Technology Articles > Software > Communications > After Patraeus: How Save Is Your Email?

How often do you delete your emails? If you’re like most people, you archive, file, or store emails. But, rarely are emails deleted. I’m not just talking about personal email programs like Gmail either.

Facebook emails and Twitter messages leave digital footprints too. Take a look at your Facebook inbox. How many messages are just sitting there? You have to wonder, if the head of the CIA has lost his job and faced public scandal over emails that were presumably private, just how secure are your emails?

Governments Seek Data Successfully

It is a well-known fact that the U.S. Government often contacts companies like Google to gain intelligence. Authorities simply hand a list of citizen names to a company like Google, and Google sends those who inquire all details about that particular person. Google is just one of the companies handing out personal Internet habit details.

Other companies comply with the government frequently too, though Google is the one company that publicly publishes these requests (over 7,000 in just a few months). Is your name on that government list? You’ll never know. But, if the government wants to read your emails or find out what you’ve been searching for online, you can bet that this information is not secure.

What about your rights as a human or as a resident of the United States? As of right not, you have no Internet rights. The Internet can be compared to the Wild West, and your messages, patterns, and searchers are anything but private. Can you protect an email account or messages from prying eyes? No; but you can do some things to ensure that some messages are never read.

Learn to Delete Your Emails

If you are completely done with an email thread, delete it. The tendency is to hang onto an email just in case you need some included information, right? Well, you’re far better off to write down those details on an old-fashioned piece of paper. Or, use a note-taking program that’s not connected to the Internet on your tablet or smartphone. What about smartphone texts? Are those safe from prying eyes? Not really.

Politicians have been taken down due to text messages. Unless you delete all incoming and outgoing texts, your text messages can be read. If this is all sounding very “1984,” well we are certainly heading in that direction, it seems.

The illusion is that the Internet and your personal smartphone are safe, but this just isn’t the case. If you put your information out there, send text messages, keep emails, you can expect someone to have access to this information. Keep in mind that emails sent from a work address are never private or personal, and these emails are not owned by you (your employer has access to all of these messages).

It’s nice to think that the Internet world is a cozy and safe one. But, until regulations are put in place and laws can protect certain citizens from prying government eyes, anything that you do on the Internet is fair game. Just keep al of these things in mind before you send out that next email or start searching for something questionable. If you have something serious and important to say, send a snail mail letter. I know, snail mail is so old-fashioned, but is there anything wrong with that?