Netiquette Banner Netiquette, by Virginia Shea, page 129

Systems: A Tool Kit for Formulating Your Company's Policy." It's $45 and is available from EMA at (703) 524-5550.

But be warned: The EMA's position on privacy is that "employers need the right to control, evaluate, and monitor all forms of employee communication." EMA director William Moroney has stated that corporate email users shouldn't expect "any more right of privacy than they get from tossing a memo in their out-basket." (Endnote #33)

Encryption: privacy protection or national security threat?

There is a way to protect your private email from snoopers. It's called encryption. Just as army dispatches during wartime are coded in case they fall into the wrong hands, it's technically possible to code, or encrypt, email messages. The technologies and techniques vary. But, for a variety of political reasons, built-in encryption has not been widely deployed in email systems.

The lack of a widely deployed encryption system has held back the commercial growth of the Internet. This is ironic given that several practically unbreakable systems are available. One very promising concept is called "public-key encryption." To grossly oversimplify, with this encryption system, everyone has two encryption keys: One is public, the other is private. I send my public key to anyone who wants it, but I alone keep my private key.

Here's where it gets really cool. If you wanted to send me a secure message, you would encrypt it with my public key. The message sent over the wires would be indecipherable jargon. When I received it, I'd decrypt it with my private key. For arcane reasons beyond my understanding, this actually works, even though the two keys are different. Only I could decrypt a message that was encrypted with my public key.

Similarly, a message I encrypted with my private key could be decrypted only with my public key. That doesn't make the message


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