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Mailing List Security

See the Internet security section for more information on general Internet security issues. Specific security issues related to mailing lists are described below. Mailing lists are public mediums, and provide little assurance of confidentiality:

  • Address confidentiality. Your email address will be revealed to others if you send a message to the list.
  • Email review. Your address may even be accessible if you don't send anything to the list, if the list has a subscriber review command. See the specific sections on Listserv, Listproc, and Majordomo for advice on concealing your address from this command if desired.
  • Redistribution. Your opinions may be recorded and redistributed by others. Although many lists have a policy about not using contributions to the list, or only using them under certain conditions, there is no practical way to enforce these policies, and they are routinely ignored. If you don't want to put a controversial opinion on the record, then the only sure protection is to not write it to a mailing list received by a lot of people you don't know.
  • Archiving. Anything you send to a mailing list may be saved and archived, possibly forever, and made accessible to others many years later. Your messages may be retrievable from archives through search commands, or through the web if the list keeps web archives.
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