Respecting Privacy, Forwarding messages, & Sending virus warnings & Sending Chain email

Respect the privacy of others and use the Blind Carbon Copy field

Please consider how you would feel if someone sent an email to everyone in their address book, including you, and sent it in such a way that the name and email address of every recipient of that email, including yours, is disclosed to every recipient. You have probably been a victim of such an email already and probably many of those other people who also got that email, are total strangers to you. Should those people be provided with your name and email address? Probably not! People who send messages like that must be made aware of the consequences to others from their actions and should learn to respect the privacy of others when sending email to large groups of people.

Perhaps you need to adjust your method too? If you are sending an email to all, or many of your contacts, perhaps to advise everyone you correspond with that you have a new email address, or merely to share a joke or inspirational thought for the day, then you should use the Blind Carbon Copy (Bcc) field when you are composing that message. The names and email addresses of recipients whose names you put in the Bcc field will not be disclosed to anyone else who gets the message from you. If you, the sender, choose the inappropriate choice and put the recipients in the To and/or Carbon Copy (CC) fields their names (and their email address) will be disclosed to everyone who gets the message. These may be total strangers to each other, but thanks to you, they now have access to that information. This disclosure is avoided if the sender uses the Bcc field instead of the To or CC field.

This wanton and unnecessary distribution of recipient's names and email addresses can lead them receiving spam, virus-infected messages (from total strangers) and even be the victims of stalking. You probably wouldn't appreciate your name and email address being handed out, without your consent, to large numbers of total strangers either. So be courteous to and respect the privacy of the people you correspond with and use the Bcc field when sending any broadcast type of email. You may also start a campaign of education to enlighten those who you correspond with so the community as a whole becomes more savvy.

Here is a sample image showing where the Bcc field is located in Outlook Express.

Tip: If you don't see the Bcc field when using Outlook Express start a new message and click on the View menu and put a check mark beside "All headers". You should then see it.

If you search for netiquette bcc and you'll likely find lots of advice on the topic.

Respect the privacy of others and remove the previous sender's information before you forward their messages

If you forward a message, perhaps a great joke, to your contacts, then you should respect the privacy of the people who sent it to you and delete their information from the top of the message before you hit the Send button. It is very easy to do so there is no excuse for you not to do it. Select the message you wish to forward and click Forward. This starts a new message and has the previous sender's information at the top. Now sweep that information with your mouse to select it and delete it. Don't forget that you probably should be using the Bcc field when forwarding the message to a group (see above).

Whenever I send anything (like a joke) that might be forwarded further, I put the following text at the top of the joke. You might do something similar. I don't type it every time. I created a "Signature" which is comprised of that text and insert that signature when I need it. This is a feature of Outlook Express, Outlook and many other email programs. Check your program's help menu for assistance on using signatures.

Please respect the privacy of the sender. If you are forwarding this message to your friends please remove the name and email address of this sender from the outgoing message (to reduce junk email and virus-infected email from total strangers). Simply select the text with mouse and delete. The far better choice, if available, is to "Forward" the message, instead of "Forward as attachment".

Caution. If you are wondering why to Forward  instead of Forward as attachment, when you forward as attachments the entire message, as you received it, is sent, complete with that sender's information.

Do not send virus warnings without authenticating first!

While most of us appreciate getting warnings about computer viruses and telephone scams and such, please beware that most such warnings we get are hoaxes and are meant to trick you to forwarding the bogus email to everyone you know. These hoaxes are a humungous waste of time. If you receive a virus warning and wish to forward it to your friends do take a minute to first verify if the warning is legitimate or a hoax.

Yes your trusted friends and colleagues will get fooled by hoaxes too so be suspicious of every warning. Even so-called computer experts of large companies and organizations get fooled by these hoaxes. Several times I've received messages from employees of such organizations and when I contacted them to advise them of the true nature of the warning, they defended it because it came from their head office! Once they realized I was correct they probably earned brownie points when they set head office straight.

Visit where you will find a very large list of virus warnings that really are hoaxes. You will find another list of hoaxes at If the message is a hoax do not pass it on, delete it instead. Look for the following:

 Of course the Cassiar Newsletter may sometimes warn of viruses and is a reliable source of legitimate warnings because all virus warnings in the newsletter are always authenticated first.

Do not send chain email messages - or email petitions

Refrain from forwarding those darn chain-email messages or petition emails. I am sure most of you have seen the silly, cute or sympathy messages where perhaps you are promised some wonderful and magical surprise or perhaps some satisfaction in knowing that you are loved, or something like that. Typically you are promised to get this reward if you forward the message to a specified number of people. Usually you also get warned that if you don't do this there will be dire consequences. Yes its nice to know we are loved but we don't need to learn it that way, do we. Those that dutifully (gullibly) forward the messages are disappointed to learn the promised surprise is not delivered after all. Those things are such a waste of time! Don't be a sucker. The only thing you accomplish by sending such messages is to just send a lot of junk email that nobody really wants.

Chain email is frowned upon by the Internet community at large and I understand it is even considered illegal in places. It takes up significant bandwidth resources and unnecessarily clogs up mail servers around the globe. Go ahead, ask your Internet Service Provider how they feel about it. Those messages are almost as bad as hoax virus warnings. Any such messages that come to me get deleted. I suggest you do the same. Feedback from many of you indicates the same level of annoyance with getting chain emails. We all thank you for your cooperation in this matter. Don't send them!

This page was last edited Tuesday, May 12, 2015

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