The ethics of email

Pat Gannon-Leary

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


In March 1996, American Libraries featured a piece about a librarian at the University of California/Irvine whose supervisor intercepted her e-mail while she was absent on medical leave. As a result of this action, UC's Office for Academic Computing began a review of e-mail privacy on the nine-campus system. The issue of e-mail privacy discussed in this essay concerned me in my many roles - as a librarian; as a (then) employee of an American university; as a former library systems administrator; as someone who holds a doctorate in communication studies; and as a female researcher in harrassment issues. I am hardly alone in my concerns. The noted software entrepeneur Bill Gates has expressed his concern over threats to privacy in the electronic age: " 'Information at your fingertips', a Microsoft motto, is the promise of the electronic age. But we need to be careful about what information and at whose fingertips." (Gates 1995, 7)
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEthics and Electronic Information in the Twenty-First Century
EditorsLester Pourciau
Place of PublicationPurdue, USA
PublisherPurdue University Press
Number of pages288
ISBN (Print)9781557531384
Publication statusPublished - 1999


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