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Orbital Goes Overboard With Legal Mumbo Jumbo

By Keith Cowing
NASA Watch
September 5, 2013
Filed under , , , ,

Keith’s note: I just got a press release from Orbital Sciences. It was sent to a news media distribution list (that is not shown) so I do not know if I am supposed to get this email or not i.e. if I am ain “intended recipient”. As is the case with all Orbital press releases it ends with legal mumbo jumbo (below) that could easily apply to me. Or maybe not. It talks about “reader” or “recipient” but no mention is made of all of the people who read a news website. Since NASAWatch can be read anywhere on Earth, the ITAR caveat applies (right?). How am I supposed to know what is or is not ITAR relevant? No other aerospace company does this (but CASIS does). The notion that people are supposed to “destroy the email message” if they get it in error shows an utter lack of understanding as to what email is and that it can never truly be destroyed – not even close. Just goes to show you what happens when you insert IT-deficient lawyers into the PR process.

“Notice: This e-mail is intended solely for use of the individual or entity to which it is addressed and may contain information that is proprietary, privileged and exempt from disclosure under applicable law. If the reader is not the intended recipient or agent responsible for delivering the message to the intended recipient, you are hereby notified that any dissemination, distribution or copying of this communication is strictly prohibited. This communication may also contain data subject to U.S. export laws. If so, that data subject to the International Traffic in Arms Regulation cannot be disseminated, distributed or copied to foreign nationals, residing in the U.S. or abroad, absent the express prior approval of the U.S. Department of State. If you have received this communication in error, please notify the sender by reply e-mail and destroy the e-mail message and any physical copies made of the communication. Thank you.

NASA Watch founder, Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA, Away Teams, Journalist, Space & Astrobiology, Lapsed climber.

2 responses to “Orbital Goes Overboard With Legal Mumbo Jumbo”

  1. hikingmike says:

    Company Official: Ok, we may have ITAR stuff in some emails. How do we ensure that we’re covered legally from having unauthorized people read those?
    Lawyer: Well we need to include a block of legalese if sending sensitive information.
    Company Official: How do we know if it includes this type of sensitive information? Can we insure that everyone follows this correctly?
    Lawyer: It would be best to read the relevant regulations and laws before sending this information so you know if it is sensitive or not. Or you could send it to the legal team first to be safest, but we’d need to hire a bunch more lawyers.
    Company Official:… … Ok so you’d basically be reading for a week before sending every email. And the answer to my second question would be no, it’s extremely doubtful everyone will act correctly. And I don’t want to hire a second army of lawyers.
    Company Official: How about we add a block of legalese to all emails that is somewhat generic, would we be covered technically then?
    Lawyer: Uhh yeah I guess.
    Company Official: Ok, write something up.
    Lawyer: grumble…not going to be as effective…
    IT Guy: But you know if you’re not sending encrypted emails, there is a chance anybody could intercept and save a copy of those over the intertubes anyway, right?
    Company Official: Doh.
    IT Guy: We can set up software and train people on encrypted email.
    Company Official: Shut up, back to your dungeon. We already pay too much for IT.
    Company Official: But do we have to CYA for that? Or can we just sue people as they come up?
    Lawyer: We can sue. All I have to say is “hacking”, it works all the time, and it keeps the Feds happy enough.

  2. legallawyer says:

    It seems though that in any new frontier, inevitably a policeman and a lawyer will eventually turn up. http://www.lawyerslegalform