Here’s a little rant to brighten your day:
I have some bad email habits, as I’ve noted elsewhere, but one habit I hope never to adopt is the BCC.
You know what I mean – the blind cc, the one that goes to everyone in the company, or relatives, or friends, or, for all we know, every Facebook friend and Twitter re-tweeter.
From a halachic perspective I see little to prevent it, so long as no one else’s writing is included in the bcc’d email. Anyone is free to send his own communication wherever he likes, with or without letting others know. Still, from an ethical perspective the bcc is a real problem.
First, people who use the bcc are betraying the trust of the people with whom they communicate.
Second, it’s often used in hostile communications to mock people, or to undermine people, and to attack without affording the opportunity for response.
Third, the Bcc allows the sender to take things out of context and portray himself in any light he chooses, without anyone else knowing to whom they need to reply. This is the one I’ve seen most.
Fourth, people who use the BCC are bullying others, saying, “Be careful when you communicate with me; you don’t know who else is seeing this.” And so it empowers them to silence those who disagree with them.
אי איישר חילי אבטליניה, to quote Shemuel. If I could, I would outlaw it.
Of course, I know that outlawing the bcc would be useless; people could still, quite easily, forward the emails to their hundred closest friends.
Further, the bcc can be necessary; I use it for sending out emails to groups, when some members of the group prefer not to have their email addresses made public.
And, a friend has noted to me that a bcc may be necessary for protection in a corporate environment, something along the lines of מכמינין לו עדים in a beit din-related Sting operation.
All true, but I despise it nonetheless. Please, don’t bcc me on an email; bcc’ing me pretty much guarantees that I won’t read it.