[Dshield] OT - Email disclaimer signatures?

becketsj@songs.sce.com becketsj at songs.sce.com
Thu Mar 31 22:14:27 GMT 2005

I heard an opinion last year by a lawyer, specializing in cyber issues,
giving a talk at a security conference that stated that "disclaimers" such
as the one below probably don't carry much weight in terms of

Does anyone have any good or bad experiences in dealing with such issues
regarding these types of signatures?

Obviously there are many factors that could influence this, like *did the
message cross national borders?* and *How enforceable are local or regional
laws when it comes to international borders?*  For the sake of this
discussion, lets just pretend that the message remains within a given
nation or province (state) and whatever local or national laws you may have

Obviously the person using such a signature in their e-mail is attempting
to *protect* their message in some fashion from accidental disclosure to
unintended persons.  Knowing, in general, the US and California state laws
surrounding communications, I'm not entirely convinced that such a
statement grants any additional protection above and beyond what the law
generally grants to any unlawful interception of communications.  Surely,
if you receive the message, you must have been intended to receive it,
right?  I mean, if the person fat-fingered an address, more often than not,
it will bounce.  So I guess the question is that if you receive the
message, how are you as a receiver supposed to know the sender's intent?
That is to say that if you have intercepted this message, you are probably
already on the wrong side of the law or very very close to it, email
signature notwithstanding.

At any rate, are such signature/disclaimers worth the recycled electrons
that they are printed on or are they just a placebo for the sender to make
them feel like they are proactively protecting their message?

***begin cut***
"This electronic message transmission contains information from the Blah
Blah Company. The information is intended solely for the use of the
addressee and its use by any other person is not authorized. If you are not
the intended recipient, you have received this communication in error, and
any review, use, disclosure, copying or distribution of the contents of
this communication is strictly prohibited. If you have received this
electronic transmission in error, please notify the sender immediately by
telephone or by electronic mail and permanently delete the original
***end cut***

Josh Beckett
SONGS IT Security
Direct 949.368.2113/PAX 82113
14300 Mesa Road (G50-C), San Clemente, CA 92672

“The superior man, when resting in safety, does not forget that danger may
come.  When in a state of security he does not forget the possibility of
ruin.  When all is orderly, he does not forget that disorder may come.
Thus his person is not endangered, and his states and all their clans are
preserved.” – Confucius (551-479 B.C.)

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