The risks of online communication

By David Kraitzick

The shift to digital communication mediums allows us to connect to each other across great distances at a blistering pace.

But such changes also pose problems for those who do not understand the risks associated with digital mediums that are archival and searchable.

These issues have drawn attention with today's story on the Employment Relations Authority ordering a sacked worker be reinstated.

He was dismissed for sending grubby emails considered inappropriate by his employers. But reinstated on the grounds that his correspondence was in line with the culture of the workplace.

A similar case saw an Auckland surgeon reinstated to his position with the Auckland District Health Board in 2007.

Diana Clement looks into our growing reliance on email as it supercedes the traditional letter.

She argues email's simplicity can easily erode the uninformed users' sensibilities and sensitivity, bringing trouble their way.

Social media services such as Facebook and Twitter present other risks associated with the public disclosure of sensitive personal information.

This is due to the permanence of online communication, which allows the past to come back and haunt the future of some users.

This collection of stories details several situations where emails have landed people in the hot seat.

- NZ Herald

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