Ask HN: Is okay keeping a private copy of your mailbox after leaving a company?

10 points by znpy a month ago

As per title, I always wondered: assume you are abut to leave the company you currently work for, is okay keeping a private copy of your mailbox after leaving a company?

Your mailbox contains, roughly, a history of most things that happened to you during the employment.

On one hand it could contain private information of the company, on the other hand it might contain data that you could need should anything happen and should you be called to testify and/or justify anything.

Assume, for the sake of the argument, that the contents of the mailbox are kept safe and in encrypted form.

akerl_ a month ago

I’d assume that the majority of companies larger than ~10 employees or so have this explicitly in the agreements you signed (as something that’s not allowed).

When you talk about “it could contain private info of the company”, lets be frank and say that a full copy of all your emails definitely contains private company info. It might also contain data you want, but if you worked somewhere for any length of time and actually worked, your communications contain private company info. As such, exporting it for your personal storage constitutes copying the company’s information without their knowledge or permission. It’s possible they didn’t put a prohibition on that into your contractual agreements.

solarkraft a month ago

Your mailbox, like anything created during work time, is company property, so you're definitely NOT allowed to do this.

I have been wondering about the nuances of this issue, however: What if I remember key information (processes, design patterns, key numbers ...) and make use of it outside of my employment? Is that this "experience" people talk about? At what point does it go over into IP theft?

alt_f4 a month ago

It's not okay and people have gone to jail over emailing themselves confidential corporate info / data to their personal email. I don't see how transferring everything outside of the company network would be viewed any more favorably.

muzani a month ago

I saved employment contracts (they sent it to my work mail for some reason). Sometimes things like how to connect to and use third party apps.

Hard no to documents and documentations, any keys, meeting minutes, diagrams and designs.

kleer001 a month ago

Please don't.

If you're worried about losing potentially important personal information or useful work then take good notes. Barring that just remind yourself that you solved that problem once and can do it again.

That said, maybe your browsing history (stripped of intra-net links) might be useful for later?

brudgers a month ago

If the legal implications matter to you, hire a lawyer. Indeed if you are likely to be called to testify after leaving the company, it's probably worth hiring a lawyer independently of the email issue.

opiner a month ago

I think it'd be fine as long as you don't show it to anyone else or let anyone know you took a copy, just to avoid the prospect of being legally hassled.

Some of my most useful reference materials taken from past jobs have been source code I've written and technical email threads I've contributed to.

I mean, I created or helped to create these, so why shouldn't I take a copy? It's not harming anyone, only benefiting.

In my opinion, it would be a symptom of having your mind overly influenced by the evils of capitalism to believe otherwise.