Exchange & Outlook UPDATE, Exchange Edition, July 8, 2004


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Security Administrator


1. Commentary
- The Difference Between "Legal" and "Right"

2. Resources
- Featured Thread: Outlook 2003 and Exchange Server
- Outlook Tip: Accessing Documents and Web Sites from Outlook 2003

3. New and Improved
- Sort Your Inbox Email
- Tell Us About a Hot Product and Get a T-Shirt!


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Editor's note: Share Your Exchange Discoveries and Get $100
Share your Exchange Server and Outlook discoveries, comments, or problems and solutions for use in the Exchange & Outlook Administrator print newsletter's Reader to Reader column. Email your contributions (500 words or less) to [email protected] We edit submissions for style, grammar, and length. If we print your submission, you'll get $100.


==== 1. Commentary: The Difference Between "Legal" and "Right" ==== by Paul Robichaux, News Editor, [email protected]

I read a lot of thrillers, and I'm always fascinated by how authors such as Tom Clancy depict the technology that US intelligence agencies use. (The one writer who consistently gets the technical details right is John Sandford, although Christopher Whitcomb is giving him a run for his money.) Speaking of interesting reading, take a look at United States Signals Intelligence Directive (USSID) 18, the law under which such intelligence agencies can monitor email. Of course, we all know that without a court order, other agencies and individuals are legally prohibited from reading email that doesn't belong to them--or are they?

The story begins with an Internet bookseller called Interloc (which has since become Alibris). Interloc also provided email services (through a subsidiary) to rare-book dealers who were its customers. In January 1998, Bradford Councilman, vice president at Interloc, instructed employees to monitor and copy email communications between Interloc customers and (an Interloc competitor), allegedly so that Councilman could gain a market advantage for Interloc. A federal grand jury indicted Councilman in July 2001 for violating Title I of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA--see US Code Title 18 Section 2511 for details), commonly known as the Wiretap Act, which prohibits unauthorized interception and disclosure of other people's electronic communications. That seems pretty straightforward, right?

Now, however, the plot has thickened. Councilman petitioned the court to dismiss the indictment, claiming that the Wiretap Act didn't apply to the email in question. The core of his argument was that because those messages were copied while they were stored on a server (albeit temporarily) rather than while they were "in transit," the messages fell under Title II of the ECPA (commonly known as the Stored Communications Act), which he hadn't been indicted for violating. Late last month, the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit affirmed the dismissal, meaning that reading through other people's email, so long as it's stored on systems under your control, appears to be legal (though rude). In essence, a bug in the law--Congress's failure to specify stored communications within the scope of "electronic communication" as defined in the ECPA--means that Councilman gets off scot free, at least for now.

Does this ruling mean you should start reading email on your server? I wouldn't advise it, for several reasons: - The court's opinion wasn't unanimous (you can read the ruling and the dissenting opinion at ).

- The court's precedent applies only to the First Circuit, not to the United States as a whole (and of course the ruling has no weight in other countries, some of which have stricter privacy and data protection laws than the United States does).

- The government can't indict Councilman again, but it did manage to win convictions against two other parties involved in the case--including the systems administrator who turned on monitoring at Councilman's request.

I'm not an attorney, and I'm not providing legal advice, but my view is simple: If you're a professional messaging administrator, then professional ethics--not to mention plain old common sense--should prevent you from monitoring email unless you're compelled to do so by a proper legal authority. Email interception can land you--and your employer--in a lot of hot water. The risk isn't worth it--end of story.


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==== Announcements ==== (from Windows & .NET Magazine and its partners)

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==== 2. Resources ====

Featured Thread: Outlook 2003 and Exchange Server
Several forum readers are having trouble with Microsoft Office Outlook 2003. If you can help (or need help with a similar problem), go to the following URL:

Outlook Tip: Accessing Documents and Web Sites from Outlook 2003 by Sue Mosher, [email protected]

Q: I've heard that Microsoft Office Outlook 2003 doesn't offer a way to link to commonly used Web pages and other files. Is this true?

A: Yes and no. Unlike earlier versions, Outlook 2003 is missing several features and commands that let you easily browse files on your computer or visit favorite Web sites. However, Outlook 2003 still has a Web toolbar (click View, Toolbars) that lets you go to your personal start page and enter Web addresses or select sites from a drop-down list of pages you've visited recently. You can also create shortcut lists of your Internet favorites that correspond to the Outlook Bar shortcut lists in earlier versions. Click the Shortcuts icon, then click Add New Group to add a new group named Internet Favorites. Open Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE), then click Favorites to display your favorite links in a navigation pane. You can then drag any favorite link to the shortcut group in Outlook to create your own list of favorite sites that you can view with Outlook's built-in browser. To rename any of these shortcuts, right-click the shortcut and choose Rename.
To customize the Web toolbar, click Views, Toolbars, Customize to add buttons for My Computer and My Documents. Clicking these buttons opens your folders within Windows Explorer, not within Outlook, but this process will probably be faster than minimizing Outlook to find files or folders another way.
See the Windows & .NET Magazine Exchange & Outlook Web page for more great tips.

==== Events Central ==== (A complete Web and live events directory brought to you by Windows & .NET Magazine: )

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==== 3. New and Improved ==== by Angie Brew, [email protected]

Sort Your Inbox Email
Netroworx released Quick Mail Sort, an Outlook mail-management plug- that sorts the read email in an Inbox into a set of dynamically created folders. Quick Mail Sort creates the folders based on the message's sender and the sender's email address. The product uses information from the user's contact list to determine where to file an email message. Quick Mail Sort can sort more than 2000 email messages in less than 1 minute. You can download a free 30-day trial version from Netroworx's Web site. Quick Mail Sort costs $30.

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