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I want to inform all 200 owners of vehicles that the site office will be closed for one weekend. Access will not be affected.

How should I send this email so there's no breach of data protection?

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    This question has nothing to do with the storage of vehicles, but of email etiquette, so I suggest a title change. – さりげない告白 Dec 24 '19 at 3:26
  • Check your use of commas. What you have written can be read as “I need to inform for 1 weekend.” ... – Solar Mike Dec 24 '19 at 7:56
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    What "data protection" breach are you concerned about in particular? – alroc Dec 26 '19 at 3:26
  • @alroc I would assume the list of email addresses, possibly with the additional fact that they are the addresses of vehicle owners. – Tashus Dec 27 '19 at 15:49
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The best way to send this kind of email blast is to some sort of preloaded company email list, like everybody-downtown@example.com. Ask your IT person if they have such a list, and how to use it.

Second best: put yourself on the To: line of the message, and your 200 people on the Bcc: line. The way email works, those people won't be able to see each others' names. You may find it easier to send the message to 25 people at a time.

Keep in mind that email messages are impossible to keep confidential. If there's something secret about the content of your message, don't use email to distribute it.

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    And if you ask your IT person to create such a list, MAKE SURE that it's posting-restricted: 1) You don't want a random spammer from outside be able to spam your whole company that easily; 2) People like the "Reply All" feature of their email client. You probably don't want people replying to your announcement to reply to everyone else besides you as well. – ThiefMaster Dec 24 '19 at 22:09
  • @ThiefMaster, nothing better than the flurry of email replies saying both "I don't park in the garage, take me off the list" and "Stop using reply-all!" – Seth R Dec 26 '19 at 19:32
  • BCC doesn’t work like that... – Donald Dec 28 '19 at 20:14
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Consult IT for this.

There's several reasons for this. Two big ones:

  • Companies don't all handle this the same way. For instance, once company I worked for had mailing distribution lists - and the proper procedure would be to BCC the mailing list. But another company had a specific mass-mailing app that would be used to send out the emails. And a third preferred to use a non-email mechanism for alerting, with emails being a last-resort.
  • There may be company policies on the email itself. For instance, where I currently work, I'm not supposed to send a mass email to customers (or for that matter, to large numbers of internal employees) - I should go through our corporate communications group, which would proofread/format/template and take responsibility for the actual sending of the message.
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  • Communications teams are sooo overrated - I mean who doesn't like official emails containing tinyurl links and similar crap that make everyhing look like phishing? :) – ThiefMaster Dec 26 '19 at 19:35
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Before sending this out, make sure that there is no current policy against emailing the whole company, regardless of the method.

Your company's email system should have a distribution lists to cover both everyone working at a particular office as well as the entire company, and you can usually find that in the address book. But the ability to send email out to those lists should be limited to a select few, and usage reserved for relevant communications to those groups. From your description, it sounds like this qualifies.

Check with your IT group, specifically the email administrator, to find out if such a distribution list exists. If it does, find out if you have the ability to use it and if not, who does.

If no such list exists, use BCC: and in the email message, state that the whole office is being included on the communication. BCC will prevent Reply All storms and hide the recipient list, which should address whatever data protection you're worried about.

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It sounds like you already have your users emails and permission to send them updates via email. The only other thing you need to be careful about is exposing each recipients email address to other recipients.

To send the email, you should use mailing software that allows bulk email. I.e. Loop though all contacts and send the email to each one.

Without mailing software, it is common to send yourself an email (using your own email address in the TO field) and BCC all your contacts.

While this is common, it's bad practice.

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    BCC recipients aren't even in the email header. "Reply all" doesn't work the way you explained it, the people BCC'd won't receive the "reply all" message, only those people in the To or CC fields will. – dwizum Dec 27 '19 at 15:16
  • Read it again. That second bullet point works exactly like I have explained. The issue I mention is, if the person in the BCC replies to all, the original recipient will know that the original sender copied in the other person. - which could be an issue, but like I said probably not relevant in this one. – flexi Dec 27 '19 at 15:25
  • Ah. Yes, I mis-read your bullet. I suppose your explanation is a good reason to send "To" yourself and BCC all actual recipients, because then there would be no risk. – dwizum Dec 27 '19 at 15:58
  • Using yourself as the "To:" address is standard for this. Should include that in the answer because it invalidates the last bullet point. – Josh Dec 27 '19 at 18:54
  • As I said the bullet points weren't really relevant to this situation..... updated question to remove irrelevant info. – flexi Dec 27 '19 at 19:17

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