A swift Google News search for the word ‘email’ yields a torrent of results. But if you were anticipating a new tech wave crescendo, you’ll be very disappointed. Each and every one of the results – every single one – referred to the use of a particular email, or emails, to expose some aspect of individuals’ private lives they had hitherto neglected to mention.
And that’s an important trend, I feel. Journalists of yore would spend days traipsing around in nondescript clothing, waiting for bin day and the possibility of scandalous or revealing letters. Celebrities’ hairbrushes, magazines, empty food wrappers – no stone was left unturned in the relentless analysis of how the Other Side lived.
But the ubiquity of email is looking to draw an end to those rose-tinted, mildly contagious days. Put away the antiseptic cream, journos: your laptop will do the job for you.
The phone-tapping email-hacking scandal that is the current subject of the Leveson Enquiry in the UK reveals just how much of a commonplace activity this digging for digital dirt has become. From virtually all sections of the media come allegations of diving in to individuals’ personal communications to find a titbit of text or licentious line of errantly-sent e-messages.
Should we, as the media-hungry public, be concerned about this? Yes, comes the resounding answer, certainly from the British public. The country is in uproar (as much as Britain ever is) about just how deep the rabbit hole goes. It’s not difficult to imagine that other countries would, under similar circumstances, follow suit.
A case in point – not so long ago, celeb mags in France were a little on the quiet side. They certainly didn’t typically descend in to tawdry examination of the intimate lives of the rich and famous. All it took was a single magazine article – one that shall not be named here – and the entire landscape changed virtually overnight. Many French folks were outraged. Others were defiantly enthusiastic. And so, in a few short years, celeb mags – and their uncomfortably close exposés – have become an everyday feature in the French newsagent.
And that’s just the driver behind the e-mail craze. Celebrities and other, more infamous citizens of interest haven’t stopped throwing things away in error. Madonna’s comb can tell you just as much about her as it always could. But e-mails are juicier. And often much less well-protected. And definitely less smelly.
So what kinds of avenues can celebrities at large pursue to safeguard the privacy of their communications? It might be worth looking at the range of email solutions available from providers such as Dell – these cloud-based systems offer much greater security than storing emails on a computer. This way, the integrity of those emails would remain unharmed.