The Secrecy of Correspondence

Using the internet to communicate whether it is via email or on one of the many Social Media platforms ends up as a permanent record. This data source is used to personalise, to target marketing, to establish reputation, to promote socialisation or in worse case scenarios STEAL OUR IDENTITY.

The best plan is to overload Google with good stuff and to always act as if you’re on candid camera, because you are!” Seth Godin, American Author Sony’s PR nightmare in the wake of an online security breach a few months ago highlighted that not even the large corporates are one step ahead of the hackers. A leaked email thread between Sony Pictures co-chairperson and a movie producer revealed harsh criticism of Angelina Jolie. And worse, the latest round of leaked emails sent to and from Sony executives, released courtesy of the shadowy hacker group known as the Guardians of Peace, revealed that the US State Department gave its blessing to the film “The Interview” a fictional plot to kill Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un.

So is a letter really and truly private?

Certainly it is more private than an email or text message. Even so a letter can be copied or read by others, however paper letters have in most jurisdictions remained outside the legal scope of law enforcement surveillance, even in cases of "reasonable searches and seizures". That said, one of the real benefits of a letter particularly when it is handwritten is the personal touch it conveys. The message on paper says to the recipient “You are important to me” in a way an email does not. Once opened, it can remain as a visible reminder of the sender for hours, days or even weeks. In comparison, an email once read, if it is read at all, is closed and deleted or superseded by all the other messages that come in after it. So in this day and age while the privacy of a mailed letter may enjoy an increasingly important role it is the personal touch of a handwritten letter, especially when so much is sent electronically that really makes it a valuable way to communicate.