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Old 16 Nov 2016, 22:27
In Omnibus's Avatar
In Omnibus In Omnibus is offline
Join Date: Apr 2010
Real name: Kris
Originally Posted by Mark.B View Post
That stance isn't helpful and it comes up every time someone asks this question. A lot of sites make this clear and indeed sites like my own expressly renamed 'Private Messaging' to 'Personal Messaging'.

It isn't about spying on users, it's about users understanding that PMs are just text entries in a database - anyone with database access can read them.

On my site a PM is merely a conversation that is not designed for the entire forum to read. If you make a post or send a message then believe it can be read by the site staff. That is also how I view PMs on ANY website I visit - the owner promising not to read anything even though he can is no privacy at all.

If users wish to state something in privacy, they should use email, and ideally encrypted email at that if genuine privacy is what they want.
You're getting into a semantics argument on the meaning of the term "private." Your average user is going to assume private means between only the parties specified. Courts are going to determine that interpretation as reasonable and customary.

That's a dangerous game I would not be willing to play.

I'm not saying you're wrong. Private messaging is the least secure form of communication next to public messaging on a forum. But the average user knows nothing or virtually nothing about how the information is stored.

Users have a reasonable expectation of privacy when the word "private" appears in the title of the feature or function being used.
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