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Ethics of BCC'ing your E Mail

I am in a tricky situation.  I have to send a mail to Person A.  Person B does not like Person A. 

In fact Company B of Person B dislikes Company A of Person A

But i am friends with both Person B and Person A.

I now need to send a mail to Person A but keep Person B informed about my dealings with Person A.  Person A might be a bit taken aback if Person B is on the CC list.

Is it all right if i BCC the mail to Person B?

I really have no ethics myself and am willing to prostitute myself for anything. But i hate to harm or be bad in dealings with others. In other words, when others are concerned, i am honest - or try my best to be honest.

Thanks

Ethic Question
Friday, May 28, 2004

Danger of BCC is that the person who got BCC'd might not notice they were Bcc'd, and hit "reply to all" or something, then the gig is up. Why don't you just e-mail a copy to person B separately. You must be as bored as I am to spend so much time thinking about something so trivial.

moi
Friday, May 28, 2004

I am dealing with companies and not people here. I have to be careful. The set of ethics involved is, i think different.

Ethic Question
Friday, May 28, 2004

um...  reply to all won't include BCC recipients, as any reasonable mail system destroys all record of the bcc recipients in the recipients' copies of the message.

schmoe
Friday, May 28, 2004

Send to A, then forward to B.

m
Friday, May 28, 2004

Schmoe,  if the person who was BCC'd hits ReplyToAll, then the original list knows he was BCC'd. 

Joe Blandy
Friday, May 28, 2004

Got it.  Sorry, not thinking...

schmoe
Friday, May 28, 2004

I'm with those who say that  you should send B the message separately.

Too many things can go wrong otherwise.

anony mouse
Friday, May 28, 2004

>> I really have no ethics myself and am willing to prostitute myself for anything.

I love setups like this. It reminds me of myself.

Anyway, let's put the mechanics aside (BCC or forward after the fact.) I agree wholeheartedly with the view that reply to all could be abused and your cover is blown. It's been covered.

I don't think it is the BCC: that is "at stake" in this. Email is not generally regarded as secret, as a court document or a classified document is. Notwithstanding any other circumstances, I don't feel it's either ethical or unethical.

But the ETHICS of relaying *information* to an outside party will vary from situation to situation. I think what governs this is the nature of the information and what interests of A could be harmed by disclosure to B.

If you have a contractual obligation to send the messages to B and if there is no reason associated with A that prohibits , then do so with a clear conscience.

Last: maybe you should talk to a lawyer about this, depending upon the stakes. Really.

Bored Bystander
Friday, May 28, 2004

<<If you have a contractual obligation to send the messages to B and if there is no reason associated with A that prohibits , then do so with a clear conscience. >>

That settles the issue. I am just asking A a question. I will BCC it to B

Ethics Question
Friday, May 28, 2004

You should tell A that you have a need to keep B informed, and ask him if he minds B being copied with the messages.

If A declines, tell him you will still have to keep B informed, but will do so in an overview fashion. In that case, just send B different messages that summarise what's going on.

Honesty is an incredible useful policy.

Must be a Manager
Friday, May 28, 2004

There is no ethical dilemma here.  Is it unethical to forward to B an email you sent to A?  BCC is different only technically.

Brian
Friday, May 28, 2004

When i've done this what  happened was one of the
people you didn't want on the email was added by
someone else on a reply.  This is even worse.

I resolved after that to treat everyone like adults and
let them work it out. My job was to send information to the
relevant people and get responses from the relevant
people. If they have hangups that is their problem.

son of parnas
Friday, May 28, 2004

"I really have no ethics myself and am willing to prostitute myself for anything. But i hate to harm or be bad in dealings with others."

If you have no ethics, then what is the ethical dilema about?
When push comes to shove, you'll probably wind up screwing over A or B when the situation presents itself.

I would assume that you don't mind or harbor any resentment towards others when you are on the other side of the situational ethic coin.  In that way you can live consistently within your situational ethic framework.

Steve-O
Saturday, May 29, 2004

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