Shhh, here’s a secret
***Note: The information contained in this message and any attachments is privileged and confidential and protected from disclosure. Any dissemination, distribution or copying of this communication is strictly prohibited.
The above rider is sent out by The Freecycle Network along with its Cease and Desist emails and is worthy of some discussion. The main thing to understand is that this is an out and out bullying tactic that has absolutely no relevance to law, in any country, in any universe. It is an embarrassing and bad joke that is aimed at putting pressure on people that TFN has an issue with. It is the tool of a bully.
The ONLY way anything can be held as private and confidential is if BOTH parties agree IN ADVANCE. So if Mr Beal had sent a previous email along the lines, “Hello, I am about to send you something confidential, before I send it I must have your assent that you will hold it private and confidential.” To which you might reply, “ok”. Then in that instance is there a kind of confidentiality contract.
With that process you as recipient have the opportunity to not see the information that is deemed precious, or to redefine or clarify the terms of confidentiality.
As an employee one might have signed a confidentiality clause, and that clause might extend, say for a year beyond contract termination. Again as an employee you do not have to sign a contract of employment or you could ask for clauses to be added, taken out or otherwise modified.
For one party to announce single-handed that what is sent is confidential is not worth the paper it is written on. It is a pure tactic used by a bully and anyone who associates with such a practice, in my mind needs their head examined. If you do work with this organisation, as an employee or as a volunteer, just ask yourself – are you happy being associated with such an organisation. Does this reflect well on you?