The Pitfalls of Corporate Email

There’s been a bit of a buzz on the goings-on inside the NHLPA (NHL Players Association) on the “email scandal”. Michael Geist has a worthy commentary on the implications of email surveilance at the troubled organization. He too questions the legal implications, and asks whether or not surreptitious monitoring crosses the line, when the players weren’t made aware of the possibility.

The NHLPA is a corporate union organization, right?  The NHL Players essentially are employees (union menmbers)…. in EVERY other corporate organization, the email belongs to the corporation, and it’s very clear that your email will/can/could/might be read/stored/used against you… and to govern yourselves accordingly. Why would this missive be any different for hockey players?
If you are going to talk/share/collaborate, and it’s about subjects you really don’t want your employer to have any knowledge about, why wouldn’t you and your friends get gmail or hotmail accounts?  Why would you use your *work email* ?  Oh… right, they are hockey players. Gotcha.

Ottawa Senators defenceman Chris Phillips said: “If something was goin gon like that, a lot of guys are going to be upset. There’s an assumption that our email accounts are private.”

I’m betting that there’s a corporate email policy, and that the contents of email on the NHLPA servers are owned by the NHLPA. If there isn’t such a policy; then shame on the NHLPA. If there is, shame on the players who are complaining that their digital rights are being violated.
If your email isn’t secure, it’s not like there’s not 13 different alternatives.

Now that the NHLPA Executive Director, Ted Saskin has been placed on paid leave,
it makes me wonder what sort of corporate policies there really are at the hockey union. In this day and age, the NHLPA should have a standard corporate IT Policy, if only for security and disclosure.


If one warning comes out of this situation, it’s the highlight that corporate, work email is just that - corporate. If you are discussing topics that have corporate implications, it’s best to take them off the corporate servers. It really is that simple. Welcome to the 21st century, hockey guys.


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