It’s fun being other people

As I wrote before, I have a very nice gmail address that doubles as an email honeypot.

This is a fun way to pass the time. First, I have a unique peak into other people’s lives. Second, I can see how people treat the possible situation of sending email to the wrong address.

One “Aviram” was on some kind of PTA mailing list. At some point they figured out they are CCing the wrong address and I no longer know what each person brings to those meetings, which is a shame.

Another “Aviram” is co-producing a TV show – seems like some kind of a reality show. If I ever need to know how to convince a “rich bitch” celebrity into joining a reality show that could be useful information. If it ever materializes into an actual show I promise to leak the identity of the winner in this blog.

A more interesting recent addition is the “Aviram” that signed up to a religious dating site. What is so interesting about a bunch of 21 yo girls who are looking to marry? Well, the dating site sent me a registration confirmation to my email, without actually checking if the email is correct. Now all I need to do is login (by selecting “forgot my password”) and change his password, and he is forever locked out.

But to top it off, the site started sending me alerts (it seems there is no shortage of young females looking to marry at this age) and every alert includes: you guess it, the username and password inside the email. And some place on the Internet a lonely guy is waiting for his solemate not knowing the mailbox is overflowing with candiates.

Probably my favorite email received was a confirmation that the transfer for 900,000 NIS (about $215,000) is about to go through as planned. I had to resist the temptation to send an email back with the ‘updated’ account details.

All this got me thinking: What are the legal consequences of receiving those mistaken-identity emails? Lets put aside the discussion of the silly mile-long footers (“if you are not the intended recipient please commit suicide after formatting your hard drive”). What if I receive a standard email, without any disclaimers, and choose to use it: leak the identity of the reality show participant, dating the girls that wanted to meet an “Aviram” or tell the PTA women to bring lasagna to the next meeting?

What about a responsibility to forward these emails to their correct recipient (or letting the sender know he has the wrong address) – am I required to? Would it be “the right thing” to do?

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