What amazing features!

Microsoft have leaked some amazing details about the next version of Office:

The latest version of Microsoft's popular Office software will, the company claims, allow users to send e-mails that will "self-destruct" after a set time.

Microsoft says users will also be able to restrict who is allowed to read an e-mail - and prevent recipients from forwarding messages to other users or printing them off.

More at the BBC… Well done M$. Thinking "outside the box" as usual eh?


  1. Inspired by all those embarassing emails that showed up during the discovery phase of the anti-trust trial, no doubt.

    -richRichard Schwartz#
  2. So now M$-generated data will self-destruct when the user wants it to. That should make a nice change :-)Colin Pretorius#
  3. I guess they've been beta testing that self-destruct feature for a few years now. ;)Doug#
  4. As far as I can tell from the descriptions on Microsoft's web site. This "leak proof" and "self destructing" email relies entirely on Microsoft technology called Information Rights Management (RM).

    That's fine -- except for security flaws -- if you live in a homogeneous Microsoft world but what happens when you send a "leak proof" email to someone outside of Exchange? They either get gobbledygook or the original email. If they get the latter, so much for "leak proof" email. Likewise with features that disallow you from copying or forwarding an email. Sure as long as you're running Outlook, it may work but have they somehow prevented you from taking screenshots or using a camera? Makes casual leakage easier to prevent but won't stop someone who's presistent.
    Bob Congdon#
  5. Followup: I dug around the Microsoft web site to find info on Information Rights Management (IRM). It works like so:

    When you receive an IRM email message, it's encrypted. Outlook will contact the Exchange server to obtain authorization and a key to decrypt and show the message. So the message can only be displayed inside Outlook, which also will disable cut-n-paste, printing, saving, forwarding, etc. The IRM features won't work if the message is accessed with a client other than Outlook and it won't be viewable either. Similarity, accessing the Exchange store directly with a public API (e.g. CDO) won't work either.

    As expected, this is a Microsoft-only solution.

    Bob Congdon#
  6. I like M$' implicit definition of "rights management" - it doesn't seem to extend to personal rights, just those of M$!Ben Poole#
  7. Bob, I don't see any other way to achieve the desired results. The solution that Lotus came up was b/s.Volker Weber#
  8. I routinely remove "$KeepPrivate" from emails, so no, there's not a fail-safe implementation of that in Notes either. The issue I have with this piece of "news" is that M$ trumpet this stuff as if it's new.Ben Poole#
  9. I don't speak for Lotus or IBM. I wasn't trying to say this problem is unique to Microsoft. Building this type of infrastructure so that it works across email systems is difficult. It requires broad agreement on standards and technology choices. We have parts of the solution with S/MIME and the like but they don't get used for a variety of reasons.

    My point was that Microsoft is acting as if this is revolutionary technology (it's not) and is not acknowledging that it only works in the closed world of Outlook/Exchange.


    P.S. The copy / print / forward "protection" is just "security theater" feature. It prevents casual copying which is fine but whenever text has to be displayed someone will always come up with a scheme to copy it. (And as Ben says, a programmer can easily remove it).

    Bob Congdon#

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