Google Mail: Email Confidentiality
Email in and of itself is not considered confidential. When you send someone an email, they can then forward that email to as many people as they want. Furthermore, you have no way of knowing if the email address you send an email to is being accessed by the actual person who owns that account. And when you receive an email, you have no way of knowing if the person who owns that account actually sent you the email.
In GroupWise, classifying an email as confidential only let the recipients know the email contained confidential information. In Google Mail, just like in GroupWise, there is no way to send confidential emails.
However, there are several steps you may take that may help increase confidentiality and security of emails you send. These are the following:
- Blind copy someone on an email (so no other recipients can see they received the email)
- Add a confidentiality message to your signature (so recipients know the email contains confidential information)
- Send confidential information in a locked PDF as an attached file
When you blind copy (also known as Bcc) someone on an email, they will receive the email in their inbox. However, all recipients in both the “To” field and the “Cc” field will not be able to see that the person who was blind copied received the email.
To blind copy someone in Google Mail, please see the Google Mail: Use Email Blind Copy Feature computer help page.
To let recipients of an email know that an email is confidential, you can add a confidentiality message to your signature. This message simply tells recipients that the email is confidential. It does not prevent them from forwarding the email to whomever they want. However, it does let them know that the information in the email is confidential.
If you want a confidentiality message in your signature, simply add it after all other information at the bottom of your signature. To do this in Google Mail, please see the Google Mail: Add a Signature computer help page.
If you have information you want to send someone but feel is too confidential to include in the body of an email, you may send it as an attached locked PDF. A locked PDF requires users to type in a password to view the PDF. You may provide the password to them over the phone or in-person.
To create a locked PDF, you must type the desired information in a Word document, save it as a PDF and then protect the PDF with a password. To save a Word document as a PDF, see the Create a PDF computer help page. To protect the PDF with a password, see the Protect a PDF with a Password computer help page.
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