The Power of E-mail
Let's consider a single hypothetical e-mail message that you created using Word and then copied and pasted into your e-mail program, How many places could this thing turn up? Before I begin answering this question, I must warn you that after you read the answer, you may not sleep tonight. Let's start with the good news.
The most obvious place is that the text of your e-mail will be on your hard drive in whatever folder you save your correspondence. If you went through multiple revisions and drafts, it's possible that your word processor saved every draft, every revision, and the name of everyone who touched the document. Oh yes, let's not forget that this includes the date and time of the revisions.
So, you're thinking this is no problem. There's no litigation pending or threatened concerning this document, so you'll just delete the file. Your lawyer even told you that it would not be improper to destroy this particular document at this particular time. The problem is that you may have accomplished nothing. The document may also ex ist on your network backup tapes. Even if you think of it, generally you can't delete a single file from a backup tape. That's really OK be cause by the time I'm done tracing the life of this e-mail, you're going to realize that the tape backup is the least of your issues.
Once you copy and paste the text into your e-mail program an send it, your e-mail will also turn up in the sent box in your e- -' program. Some recycle bins or trash bins on some computers will e, save every version of a file as it changes. With this feature, you may find countless versions of ybur sent box on your hard drive. Every time you send an e-mail, a new version of your sent box is created and an other old one goes to the recycle bin.
If you're wondering why I called the stuff above the" good news," that's because here comes the bad news. It was good news because, as suming that your lawyer gave you the green light to destroy the document, you could control everything I've talked about-until now.
What you can't control starts with your Internet service provider.
While your e-mail might quickly disappear from your hard drive, your provider may have its own backup procedures, which may ensnare your e-mail. Then the same goes for your receiver's Internet service provider.
And let's not forget the person to whom you sent your e-mail. it will be in her in-box, e-mail program trash bin, hard drive trash bin, and her tape backups. for the coup de grace, if she forwarded it, your email may be like a rabbit on reproductive overdrive.