Could you point me to a good and trustworthy reference on the web that would explain in a simple language why it is not a good practice to use CC when you sent email to multiple people who do not know each other.

I keep receiving emails that are cc to many people. I would like to reply to the sender that I would rather not have my email address visible to all the other people on the cc list (which I do not know) and point them to a good reference on the web that would explain why. Ideally if that was published within some well known domain.


From: http://www.russharvey.bc.ca/resources/email.html

Few things are as irritating as receiving a message your e-mail address listed along with others for people you don't know. Not only is this poor etiquette, but it also invites misuses of those addresses by any of the recipients or anyone they might forward the message to.

When people provide you with their e-mail address — either directly or by sending you a message — there is the implicit expectation that you will not reveal it to others without their permission.

Just as you wouldn't appreciate your place of employment giving out personal contact information, many people feel the same way about their e-mail address.

In fact, privacy has become a serious issue on the Internet and concern will continue to grow as people realize the commercial value of their private information and as they fight a losing battle against spam (unsolicited and unwanted commercial or non-commercial e-mail).

  • 2
    Note that those misuses might be intentional (selling mail addresses, spamming you with funny powerpoints) as well as unintentional (getting a virus, picking a wrong name). Another frequent side-effect of using CC is that one idiot always chooses to do reply-all and spam all your receivers with a message they won't care about. – Konerak Apr 4 '11 at 14:05

CC exposes your email list to everyone who receives it. This invites harvesting of the addresses by spammers. These references might help:


http://www.itsecurity.com/features/25-common-email-security-mistakes-022807/ point 7.

There are issues with BCC especially if the email server does not remove the BCC recipients. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blind_carbon_copy and verify how your server handles them.

You can indicate that the recipients where purposely hidden by sending to the empty list Undisclosed recipients;. Your email software should accept this.


Depending on exactly what you send (and probably how many cc'ed) you could fall foul of data usage regulations in some jurisdictions.

As an example (which probably wouldn't happen) the UK Data Protection Act 1998 could come into play if there was personal information in the email, and the person that information referred to hadn't given permission for it to be sent.

Also many organisations have a stated data usage policy which will explicitly forbid this sort of thing.

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