Recent headlines have highlighted the blurring divide between professional and private e-mail accounts: The White House and its staffers were subjected to criticism and scrutiny for their use of non-governmental e-mail accounts and BlackBerrys in connection with official business; New York Governor Eliot Spitzer’s aides’ personal e-mail accounts have been targeted for communications concerning the investigation into the Senate majority leader; and New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine recently declared that he would stop using e-mail entirely in response to legal requests for private e-mails between the governor and his ex-girlfriend.

The overlap between business and personal e-mail and computer use isn’t limited to the political arena. An April 2007 survey revealed that 33 percent of employees use personal e-mail accounts at least once or twice weekly for business purposes, and that 17 percent do so daily. [FOOTNOTE 1] Moreover, nearly 16 percent of the survey participants admitted to using their personal e-mail accounts to avoid corporate review or retention of their messages. [FOOTNOTE 2]