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Learning From Hillary: Using Your Private Email for Black Ops at Your Company...

In case you missed it, the revelation has come to light that during her time as Secretary of State under President Obama, Hillary Clinton didn't use government email.  Not at all.  When discovery requests were made (normal course of business at that level), entire searches came back empty. 

Here's more from The Daily Beast:

"Hillary Clinton created her own private email system that she exclusively used as secretary of state, ignoring “very specific guidance” from the White House by not even creating, let alone using, a Hillarygovernment email account. White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said Tuesday the Obama administration has to take Clinton at her word that she turned over all relevant emails for archiving.

The Associated Press traced the computer server that sent and received Clinton’s emails back to her home in Chappaqua, New York. The practice gave Clinton “impressive control over limiting access to her message archives” and surpassed privatizing practices used by other politicians who employed Yahoo or Microsoft email accounts. “Operating her own server would have afforded Clinton additional legal opportunities to block government or private subpoenas in criminal, administrative, or civil cases because her lawyers could object in court before being forced to turn over any emails,” the AP writes. In addition, homemade email servers are not as reliable or secure from hackers as those in commercial data centers. 

According to a report in The New York Times, there were “several instances in which records requests sent to the State Department, which had no access to Mrs. Clinton’s emails, came up empty.” One of those instances involved congressional investigators and emails related to the Benghazi consulate attacks."

Sinister or genius?  Depends how polarized you are politically, because from my seat as a moderate Republican, I see both sides - but I'm not sucked in to labeling her a cheat or a martyr.

Instead, I think leaders at your company have something to learn from this.  Here's five things you can learn/be reminded of as a leader of people in corporate America from the news that Hillary Clinton refused to use government email:

1. Everything you say on email is more searchable than it's ever been.

2. A LOT of what you use email for is meant to have conversations that have no business as part of the public domain.

3. If you're smart about email, you'll use it less for conversations.

4.  To be smarter about email, every time you want to use it for a conversation you wouldn't put on the front page of a newspaper, you need to think twice.

5.  If you must email someone in those circumstances, you might want to learn from Hillary and encourage you and your work colleague to go "dark" and use another email system like Gmail.

Email's more searchable than it's ever been, and today's bitch session about a direct report's shortcomings turns into tomorrow's discovery that provides circumstantial evidence that you were a complete ass when that person worked for you, which can and will be used against you in any legal proceeding in the employment law space.

The best way to prevent that is to not do email for chippy conversations.  The second best way to do that is to have the private email addresses of colleagues and email them at that address from your gmail account.  Most legal proceedings won't request your private email records, and even if they did, they wouldn't be successful.  

Learn from Hillary.  Private email could be your friend.



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