The Destructiveness of Google's New Self-Destructing Emails

Google recently announced a new confidence mode to the masses earlier this year that permits timed deleting of sent email messages.  Touted as a new securi­­ty feature in Gmail, a flagship product of multinational Alphabet Inc., it remains to be seen whether such a vapor trail-enabling functionality is a good thing or something ominous.  Immediate or latent effects can be significant and go worldwide quickly with Big Tech's power and presence.

Email, text messaging, Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, blogs, web pages, and their ilk compose the pantheon that is modern-day electronic communication.  Electronic communication exists in the realm of utterance somewhere between the written and merely spoken word.  Unless printed to hard copy or etched in cyber-stone, emails can be temporary recordings.  Self-destructing emails are timed to delete themselves at the sender's behest.  Perhaps a paperless society is not all it's cracked up to be in view of evolving circumstances.  The development of self-destructing electronic transmissions elevates the notion of a perishable record and raises serious issues.

Self-destructing emails immediately move the email genre along the scale from less to more perishable in nature and somewhat closer to fleeting speech than document in longevity – all in one swift, unmitigated action.  Oral statements are less easily validated than those written.  Oral contracts are generally not considered as strong or enforceable as those signed and dated.  Effective record-keeping depends on stable content.  Trust is built upon understanding and continuity – the more demonstrable, the better.  Suddenly, the world becomes less concrete and more fluid.  Certainty and expectations become as relative as malformed, shifting truth and logic in bastardized dialectic.

Google's self-destructing email propels users deeper into gray areas shaded by degrees of privacy, security, and even potential skullduggery.  Evaporating electronic messages further raise questions of ownership, documentation, and intent.  Recipients' ownership rights are diminished if they should fail to copy or secure the content and timestamp receipt of the document.  Senders' ownership rights become complete.  Individual rights are pressed as unscrupulous types can churn out scams, misrepresentations, outright falsehoods, and even threats potentially without trail and repercussion.  The unbridled excesses of the internet and social media further manifest in email inboxes everywhere.  Notable things once stable become transitory.  Here today, gone momentarily.

From Hillary Clinton's emails to the files and records of Paul Manafort, Michael Cohen, big government, and big business, the concepts of privacy, transparency, accountability, motivation, and actuated agenda are subject to the use or abuse of self-destructing documentation.  The temptation for some to commit fraud or act unethically may prove irresistible.

Imagine a series of actions and outcomes based upon a single disappearing email.  Consider the possible ramifications of mass email elimination.  Fake news could be faked in new and exciting ways.  WikiLeaks would become just plain Wiki, since non-existing substance implies nothing to leak.  Certain unidentified Russians, deplorable members of the Trump presidential campaign, and dubious characters from the Obama administration could walk forever free and without fear.  Whether the National Security Agency (NSA) or Google captures and utilizes transitory digital communication and information is incidental.  Such powerful organizations act with scant oversight if any.  As with so many things, it is usually the unsuspecting little guy who gets rooked.

Documentation longevity and personal intent can interact negatively and cause situational devolution, as illustrated in the Longevity and Intent Matrix (LIM) figure.

The downwardly sloping LIM arrow basically suggests that somebody with honest intent will be most likely to openly and permanently document things as needed and appropriate.  Less ethical individuals will be less likely to want open and enduring records floating around and might act accordingly.  The criminal and malevolent are correspondingly least interested in being exposed and tend toward momentary documentation (or extended duration concealment) to suit a purpose.  Google's self-destructing emails provide the last most suspicious group an additional weapon for their arsenal.

Criminals, malcontents, anarchists, seditionists, true conspirators, and other subterfuge artists ought to really appreciate emails prepped and timed to self-destruct.  Privacy and security morph into secrecy and peril where the heinous are concerned.  Aggressively targeted, agenda-driven communication and coordination can be highly detrimental to individuals, leaders, groups, institutions, and even governments.  A little dubious intent goes a long way with the right enablers.  The immortal Winston Churchill is said to have quipped that a lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its shoes on.  With inventions like vanishing emails, the truth might not even know to don its shoes when the time comes.

Evaporating emails allow damage to be inflicted with little trace.  As goes the message, so go truth and consequence.  Major legal battles and information wars are fought, won, and lost over emails.  Business and government transactions and operations often revolve around emails and electronic data.  Individuals make important daily decisions that spur action based on email content.  Law enforcement, national security, and government oversight efforts all regularly draw upon historical emails.  All redaction aside, disappearing emails leave a gaping hole in most any process, provide cover to the clandestine and inept, and impede in general.

Heightened fear and anxiety naturally follow uncertainty.  If a premier social media player like Google can embed self-destruct commands into an email, then what else can it pack into an unsuspecting recipient's inbox via a questionable app or sending party?  The crooked and complicit potentially benefit at levels far above those of the innocent in a stilted environment.

Current unfortunate trends and events in mainstream and social media involve widespread internet censorshipshadowbanning, de-platforming (denial of service or opportunity), identity reduction or removal, and other free speech-depleting activities.  Google's latest Gmail feature is akin to these happenings.  The combined power of information, communication, technology, timing, and tactics can swing national elections and direction among other things.  Look also to China and Europe for precursors and examples of things to come.  Despite corporate assurances of confidence, security, and privacy, there remains a potentially broader destructiveness accompanying the rise of activities like proliferating self-destructing email.

Drix Dressler provides strategic and operational planning and analysis support and insights that help executives make correct decisions and build their businesses.  Email: DrixD@protonmail.com.

Google recently announced a new confidence mode to the masses earlier this year that permits timed deleting of sent email messages.  Touted as a new securi­­ty feature in Gmail, a flagship product of multinational Alphabet Inc., it remains to be seen whether such a vapor trail-enabling functionality is a good thing or something ominous.  Immediate or latent effects can be significant and go worldwide quickly with Big Tech's power and presence.

Email, text messaging, Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, blogs, web pages, and their ilk compose the pantheon that is modern-day electronic communication.  Electronic communication exists in the realm of utterance somewhere between the written and merely spoken word.  Unless printed to hard copy or etched in cyber-stone, emails can be temporary recordings.  Self-destructing emails are timed to delete themselves at the sender's behest.  Perhaps a paperless society is not all it's cracked up to be in view of evolving circumstances.  The development of self-destructing electronic transmissions elevates the notion of a perishable record and raises serious issues.

Self-destructing emails immediately move the email genre along the scale from less to more perishable in nature and somewhat closer to fleeting speech than document in longevity – all in one swift, unmitigated action.  Oral statements are less easily validated than those written.  Oral contracts are generally not considered as strong or enforceable as those signed and dated.  Effective record-keeping depends on stable content.  Trust is built upon understanding and continuity – the more demonstrable, the better.  Suddenly, the world becomes less concrete and more fluid.  Certainty and expectations become as relative as malformed, shifting truth and logic in bastardized dialectic.

Google's self-destructing email propels users deeper into gray areas shaded by degrees of privacy, security, and even potential skullduggery.  Evaporating electronic messages further raise questions of ownership, documentation, and intent.  Recipients' ownership rights are diminished if they should fail to copy or secure the content and timestamp receipt of the document.  Senders' ownership rights become complete.  Individual rights are pressed as unscrupulous types can churn out scams, misrepresentations, outright falsehoods, and even threats potentially without trail and repercussion.  The unbridled excesses of the internet and social media further manifest in email inboxes everywhere.  Notable things once stable become transitory.  Here today, gone momentarily.

From Hillary Clinton's emails to the files and records of Paul Manafort, Michael Cohen, big government, and big business, the concepts of privacy, transparency, accountability, motivation, and actuated agenda are subject to the use or abuse of self-destructing documentation.  The temptation for some to commit fraud or act unethically may prove irresistible.

Imagine a series of actions and outcomes based upon a single disappearing email.  Consider the possible ramifications of mass email elimination.  Fake news could be faked in new and exciting ways.  WikiLeaks would become just plain Wiki, since non-existing substance implies nothing to leak.  Certain unidentified Russians, deplorable members of the Trump presidential campaign, and dubious characters from the Obama administration could walk forever free and without fear.  Whether the National Security Agency (NSA) or Google captures and utilizes transitory digital communication and information is incidental.  Such powerful organizations act with scant oversight if any.  As with so many things, it is usually the unsuspecting little guy who gets rooked.

Documentation longevity and personal intent can interact negatively and cause situational devolution, as illustrated in the Longevity and Intent Matrix (LIM) figure.

The downwardly sloping LIM arrow basically suggests that somebody with honest intent will be most likely to openly and permanently document things as needed and appropriate.  Less ethical individuals will be less likely to want open and enduring records floating around and might act accordingly.  The criminal and malevolent are correspondingly least interested in being exposed and tend toward momentary documentation (or extended duration concealment) to suit a purpose.  Google's self-destructing emails provide the last most suspicious group an additional weapon for their arsenal.

Criminals, malcontents, anarchists, seditionists, true conspirators, and other subterfuge artists ought to really appreciate emails prepped and timed to self-destruct.  Privacy and security morph into secrecy and peril where the heinous are concerned.  Aggressively targeted, agenda-driven communication and coordination can be highly detrimental to individuals, leaders, groups, institutions, and even governments.  A little dubious intent goes a long way with the right enablers.  The immortal Winston Churchill is said to have quipped that a lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its shoes on.  With inventions like vanishing emails, the truth might not even know to don its shoes when the time comes.

Evaporating emails allow damage to be inflicted with little trace.  As goes the message, so go truth and consequence.  Major legal battles and information wars are fought, won, and lost over emails.  Business and government transactions and operations often revolve around emails and electronic data.  Individuals make important daily decisions that spur action based on email content.  Law enforcement, national security, and government oversight efforts all regularly draw upon historical emails.  All redaction aside, disappearing emails leave a gaping hole in most any process, provide cover to the clandestine and inept, and impede in general.

Heightened fear and anxiety naturally follow uncertainty.  If a premier social media player like Google can embed self-destruct commands into an email, then what else can it pack into an unsuspecting recipient's inbox via a questionable app or sending party?  The crooked and complicit potentially benefit at levels far above those of the innocent in a stilted environment.

Current unfortunate trends and events in mainstream and social media involve widespread internet censorshipshadowbanning, de-platforming (denial of service or opportunity), identity reduction or removal, and other free speech-depleting activities.  Google's latest Gmail feature is akin to these happenings.  The combined power of information, communication, technology, timing, and tactics can swing national elections and direction among other things.  Look also to China and Europe for precursors and examples of things to come.  Despite corporate assurances of confidence, security, and privacy, there remains a potentially broader destructiveness accompanying the rise of activities like proliferating self-destructing email.

Drix Dressler provides strategic and operational planning and analysis support and insights that help executives make correct decisions and build their businesses.  Email: DrixD@protonmail.com.