Is the Sony Scandal the End of Email As We Know It?

In the wake of the most spectacular hack in history, people are rushing to delete all the nasty things they've ever typed. It probably won't help.
LEON NEAL/AFP/Getty Images

Notwithstanding its inherent vulnerability to disclosure in lawsuits, or to being forwarded to the wrong person, email has long been like samizdat, a medium for truth-telling. But the Sony hacks have already begun to have an impact, sending unvarnished opinion further underground. “As I’m sure you’re aware, the Sony Corporation has suffered a HUGE, EMBARASSING hack, (sic)” read a sign posted over the weekend in the break room of a notable New York media company. “Personal emails are RUINING CAREERS. Keep that in mind when you send the next joke or comment on TEXT, EMAIL, INTER-OFFICE MESSAGING or ANY OTHER MEDIUM. You might want to take a look at what you’ve said lately and delete anything NOT-WORK-RELATED that could get you or this company in trouble.”

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