One of the most striking aspects of the Hillary Clinton email controversy is how last century it all is. The secretary’s technology troubles stem not from her use of a hot new app or the latest i-whatever device, but from email, that oldest of old-school platforms. Nevertheless, employers (and their lawyers) in both the private and public sectors can learn valuable lessons from the secretary’s old-fashioned dilemma.
Clinton used a single private account for all of her email communications. By her description, she emailed many people on many occasions about many private and professional topics. To be sure, her communications, covering everything from her daughter’s wedding plans to the international affairs of the most powerful nation on earth, presumably were a bit more consequential than those of the average worker. Still, her technology choices were the equivalent, in the private sector, of a chief executive officer using a private account for any and all company-related communications. Few if any corporations would knowingly sanction such a system. Nevertheless, it is not uncommon for employees to mix personal and business communications and newer technologies sometimes make that problem worse.
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