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Congressional indiscretion reveals whistleblowers

Lesson for the day: If you promise anonymity for disclosure of sensitive information, please take care to not leak the identifying information of those who contribute.

O.k., we're being glib, but this exactly what happened. The House Judiciary Committee accidentally exposed e-mail addresses of people who submitted tips to a whistleblower site.

The site was used to help investigate the possible "alleged politicization" at the Justice Department, according an article in ComputerWorld .

After some people contributed some tips, an office worker was tasked to send out a response e-mail. Unfortunately, that person didn't blind carbon copy (BCC) everyone, which would be the proper thing to do. Rather, everyone's e-mail was placed in the "To" field, so every recipient could see everyone else's e-mail. D'oh!

The officer worker then tried to recall the e-mail, but once again, included everyone's e-mail on the retraction. Insert Homer Simpson noise here.

Here is how to send out a mass e-mailing while hiding all the recipients e-mail addresses.

We'd like to say Microsoft shares a little of the blame here with its Outlook e-mail client, which does not offer blind carbon copy as a default field for new e-mail. Here is how to add a BCC field.

What we want to know is how Vice President Dick Cheney's e-mail got on the list though.

Posted by Joab Jackson on Oct 31, 2007 at 9:39 AM


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