confidential_spam_0001 - 2004-03-02 privileged information? -
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confidential_spam_0001 - 2004-03-02 privileged information? -

We received a spam today from:

(archived at

Among other useless cruft, it contained this little gem of a paragraph:

Well, what can we say to that? First of all, it was delivered directly to the addressee, so we suppose that the section about "not the intended recipient" does not apply in this case. Does that mean that grants the correct recipients the rights to do whatever they wish with the contents? Presumably so. However, this doesn't matter in the slightest. Even if the actual recipient had not been the intended recipient or an authorized agent, the entire premise of the paragraph is flawed.

This email was commercial in intent and sent unsolicted. Presumably it was sent in bulk too, but only two of the three conditions must be met for it to qualify as spam. There was no prior agreement of any sort between the sender and the recipient. For that matter, there was no prior agreement between the sender and the mail systems that transmitted and received the email! This is the important point to remember. The sender could not possibly expect a 100% guarantee that the email would only end up with the intended recipient. The email could have been misdirected accidentally or purposefully almost anywhere along it's route. There is a significant chance that the message would end up in the hands of someone who has no intention of honoring the implied non-disclosure statement. Since no prior arrangement was made, and there was no possible guarantee of correct delivery, the entire claim of privileged and confidential is meaningless and void.

(As it turns out, even though the intended recipient received it, it did end up in the hands of someone who intends to not honor the confidentiality in the slightest. But that's another issue completely.)

So, has given up any right to make that claim of confidential content merely because they have sent the information as unsolicited commercial email. Then why did they include the paragraph? Our guess is that the reason is two-fold. First, it does give the email an aura of false respectability. We often see these statements in email sent between business partners. Second, it is probably intended to scare people away from posting or reporting it.

This is one of the problems of the "opt-out" system. It incorrectly assumes permission to send before the recipient can refuse it. Had they followed a proper confirmed opt-in procedure, there never would have been a chance for them to send any so-called confidential information to us in the first place.

Sucks to be them! toasted spam dot com