If you tell enough stories, perhaps the moral will show up.


Doing business over email

This story is much more important than it looks. Rochdale Council probably didn't think at all before filtering email. If they did, they were probably comforted by the conventional wisdom: "of course we filter email -- everyone else does".

If you're installing mail filters, you need to think a bit harder. You need to know all the addresses that engage in any legal or regulatory role and make sure that their mail is reviewed by someone who understands the business. You need HR cover for the review team to ensure that they are all hardened pornography users who won't sue their employer for showing them dirty pictures.

If you want to filter your other addresses, you'd better know your business. "Hardcore" is a construction by/waste product, as well as a property valuation method. Swedish language appears to contain all sorts of forbidden character sequences. Equity analysts get really uptight if you stop them getting news about Pfizer. A list of South American copper mines contains more hate speech than a KKK manifesto. Language, especially the language of email and news is not simple to parse: Most of the unwanted meanings happen in our heads, not in the text.

And if you you think I'm being neurotic about this, perhaps you'll tell me what's the legal status of an email trade confirmation dumped by a filter? How much of an FSA fine would you want to pay?

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