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Criminalisation of data loss spells trouble for careless e-mail users.

SendMail : 01 May, 2008  (Technical Article)
Recent research by Sendmail reveals the high degree to which e-mail users expose data through lack of encryption or poor knowledge of company policies.
Following this weeks news that Peers in the House of Lords have supported an amendment to the criminal justice and immigration bill, which would make it a criminal offence to carelessly release or lose personal data. Ian Emery, VP of Sales for EMEA at Sendmail has made the following comment around email message processing:

"The proposed criminalisation of 'reckless data loss' by companies will place the onus on companies to prove that they are protecting the personal data they hold. Breaches, whether intentional or unintentional, by employees will open companies up to liabilities under the proposed legislation. As our recent research shows, many employees do not understand or fully appreciate that their actions may place their company in breach of these regulations in the future. The only answer is for companies to ensure their e-mail infrastructure is capable of monitoring and enforcing adherence to the new proposals"

The issue of public data loss entered the public eye with the Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs departments loss of 25 million people's details on two CDs, which sparked a host of revelations about missing data in government.

Last week Sendmail research revealed that over half of UK workers interviewed have sent emails to the wrong people.

Other key findings show:.

* Email education - Over a quarter of people don't understand what they can and can't send out over company email.
* Banking blooper - More than one in four people have sent bank details over email.
* Financial flounder - Almost a third (27.7%) of people have sent their company's financial details over email.
* Email encryption - 74% of workers can't encrypt their emails, which would remove many business security concerns.
* Email examination - Nearly half (43%) of people don't know if their outbound emails are scanned before leaving the building.
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