Email is Forever
One theme that comes up from time to time in the press and in the practice of law (everyone has a horror story about it) is the errant email (the one you wish you had not sent). To state the obvious, people have a tendency to put things in emails that they would never write in another context. Mostly when you do this, the only bad thing that happens is modest embarrasment. However, some emails have led to major problems for the sender becasue they can, and will, be used against you, and you can't, as a general propostion, get them back.
A few things to note, the company server belongs to the company and the emails that reside therein can be accessed by the company if it wants to. Another obvious source of problems is the autofill feature for email addresses. If you are sending anything sensitive, look twice. Similarly, the "reply all" button. Finally, our firm had a case that turned, in part, on instant messaging. The sender assumed, incorrectly, that instant messages are not saved anywhere, but the recipient of the relevant message had turned on the save function. In that case, the sender's testimony was exposed as perjury.
Usually the story of errant email has a bad ending, but here is one where the tables appear to have turned. According to TechCrunch, "Tapulus CEO Bart Decrem sent out an email to investors yesterday updating them on the status of the iPhone/Android focused company. It was forwarded to us, and we reprint it ..." However, one of the comments to this blog post, notes, "The leaked email almost looks like a press release. Not sure if the title of the blog justifies the post !"
So, while this post demonstrates that there can be strategic uses for the errant email, it is the exception that proves the rule.